ESSAY: Respiratory System

Identify the five major anatomical structures of the lower respiratory tract and their primary functions.

Your response should be at least 300 words in length. You are required to use at least your textbook as source material for your response. All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying citations.


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The lower respiratory tract comprises five major anatomical features, namely the trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, alveoli, and lungs (Wert, 2017). The trachea, which is also referred to as the windpipe, acts as a connection point between the larynx and the bronchi. Therefore, it provides a clear pathway for the air to exit and enter the lungs as required. Additionally, the trachea has an epithelium lining that produces mucus, which helps in trapping contaminants such as dust and preventing them from getting into the lungs. The trachea splits into two to create the bronchi which further split into smaller airways referred to as the bronchioles.

The bronchi and bronchioles perform the same function in the respiratory system, which is to transport the air from the trachea into the lungs. Also, the muscle tissue in the bronchi and bronchioles regulates the amount of air moving in the lungs. The smooth muscle fibers contract and expand to prevent hyperventilation (Amador & Varacallo, 2020). Therefore, if the body requires a greater amount of air due to demanding activities such as exercise, the muscles relax and allow the bronchi to dilate, hence allowing more air into the system. The alveoli occur on the tips of the terminal bronchioles and are furthermore surrounded by capillaries. Hence enabling to perform their main function in the body. They are responsible for the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen molecules to and from the bloodstream, through the process of diffusion (Thiboutot et al., 2018). The alveoli have a simple epithelium that makes it possible for the air to enter and exit the alveoli, while exchanging the gases in the blood via the capillaries. The lungs work in conjunction with the other lower respiratory tract features to take in air from the atmosphere and pass…

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