We cannot exist without alveoli: alveoli

Animals and humans depend on the proper functioning of the alveoli. These are the smallest pits in the interior of our lungs called alveoli and have an extremely important function. It is vital that it works properly and that the opening is not affected. Why are alveoli important for our daily existence, how do these alveoli work and what can be hindering factors?

Alveoli, alveoli

  • Where are the alveoli located?
  • Gas exchanger of the body
  • Provided with oxygen-rich blood
  • Disorders of the organ
  • Be careful with your alveoli


Where are the alveoli located?

The interior of the lungs is made up of tiny openings with pipes, which branch into a fine-meshed structure. At the extreme end of this network are the alveoli. It forms, as it were, a spherical clustering of vesicles at the end of small tubes. Due to the relatively large surface area of the interior of the lung, every person has several million of these clusters. It is assumed that the added value of all those small spheres has a size comparable to a football field. In other words, it has a very important function in the body. But what does it actually do?

Gas exchanger of the body

Oxygen is supplied through tubes during inhalation, after which it ends up through the branches into the alveoli. A fine network of veins surrounds the alveoli, through which blood flows. Oxygen (O2) is added to the blood through the alveoli, and carbon dioxide (CO2) is removed. In other words, gases are exchanged, making the alveoli the gas exchanger of the body. When we exhale, it has a relatively high concentration of carbon dioxide. It is therefore necessary that we can breathe properly, and proper functioning of the alveoli is also essential.

Provided with oxygen-rich blood

All parts of the body, such as organs, the brain, muscles, tissues, neurological processes and the like, are controlled by oxygen-rich blood. A good ratio of O2 in the blood ensures that we are physically strong and healthy, as well as long-term endurance. If the level of oxygen-rich blood decreases due to lung problems or other conditions, this has consequences for the functioning of the body. Everything happens with more difficulty or there may be difficulty breathing. Why should we pay attention to good lung health?

Disorders of the organ

Because proper functioning can be of vital importance, conditions should always be taken seriously. For example, consider the following breathing worsening conditions.


An infection has entered the lung, affecting the mucous membranes. An increasing amount of stuck mucus covers the openings, making gas exchange less effective. Always ensure that you are treated completely, so that no remnants of the condition are left behind.

Lung abscess

Throat bacteria can be carried along by accelerated inhalation and exhalation during heavy coughing. These end up in the organ where it starts to multiply. It can also occur in combination with cancer. It results in a lung abscess, where coughed up sputum can be significantly foul-smelling. This mucus also prevents proper exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Collapsed lung, fluid in the lung membranes

Lung capacity can decrease significantly due to a collapsed lung or fluid between the lung membranes. It causes breathing problems and possibly a lot of pain. An air or moisture drain should be used to correct the condition.


Fibrosis or emphysema changes the structure of the lung tissue around the openings of the alveoli, causing the tissue to need more surface area. This results in the alveoli becoming compressed and therefore having less space. The condition can lead to disability due to severe breathing problems.

Pulmonary edema

Fluid behind the lungs can develop due to heart problems, which increases the blood pressure in the lung. Blood flows more slowly or cannot escape. Fluid from the blood can seep into the alveoli, hindering gas exchange.


Lung cancer can be caused by long-term smoking, working in a dusty environment, and so on. Particles are inhaled, irritating tissue particles, resulting in tumor formation.
The above indicates that if there are breathing problems, you should get a medical check-up quickly. At the very least, go to the doctor or be examined in the hospital. In emergencies you must call 112.

Be careful with your alveoli

Proper functioning of the organ is of vital importance. If one of the above conditions or diseases occurs, it has a direct effect on how much oxygen the body can absorb. It is always wise to spare the lungs by:

  • not to smoke;
  • not knowingly getting a wet suit that you walk around with for a long time;
  • not to enter smoky, dusty, sooty areas;
  • wearing a dust mask on construction sites if dust particles become airborne;
  • avoiding industrial smog;
  • always limit the amount of coughing.

If there is reduced breathing, always have yourself examined. Often worse can be prevented with a simple medicinal intervention, such as antibiotics.

read more

  • Neglected pneumonia can have serious consequences
  • GPA: severe damage to lungs, kidneys due to autoimmune disease
  • Breathing problems due to fluid in the lung membranes: pleural puncture
  • Fluid behind the lungs (pulmonary edema) due to heart problems
  • Chest drainage for collapsed lung or collapsed lung
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