Respiratory System and Its Contribution to Homeostasis

It should be noted that the respiratory system consists of a set of organs that support the function of a person’s external respiration (gas exchange between the inhaled atmospheric air and the circulating blood). Gas exchange occurs in the lungs, and it implies that oxygen from the inhaled air is captured, and carbon dioxide formed in the body is released into the external environment (Patton & Thibodeau, 2018). The purpose of this paper is to discuss the composition of the respiratory system and describe its contribution to homeostasis.

General Description

The respiratory system consists of paired lungs that are located in the chest cavity as well as air tubes that connect them to the air. The airflow passes the following sections – nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs (Patton & Thibodeau, 2018). Twelve pairs of bone ribs surround the heart and lungs located in the chest cavity and perform a protective function. At the back, each rib is articulated with one of the thoracic vertebrae in such a way that it can rise and fall. In front, ten pairs of ribs are attached to a bone plate – the sternum (Patton & Thibodeau, 2018). The other two pairs of ribs are often referred to as floating ribs. The diaphragm detaches the chest area from the abdominal area (Patton & Thibodeau, 2018). In terms of the location of the organs, the nasal cavity is medial to the ears, and the pharynx is superior to the larynx; the larynx is also superior to the trachea. The bronchi occupy an intermediate position about the lungs.

Homeostatic Mechanisms

Several homeostatic mechanisms keep the balance of the structure and operation of the respiratory system. In particular, one of the functions of this system is to get rid of carbon dioxide, which is formed in the organism. During this process, the number of hydrogen ions equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide released from the blood disappears (Carlson, 2018). For this reason, respiration is an essential process needed for supporting acid-base balance. If the acidity of the blood grows, then an increase in the content of hydrogen ions leads to an increase in pulmonary ventilation. Interestingly, during this process, carbon dioxide molecules are excreted in large quantities, and the pH level returns to normal (Carlson, 2018). With hypoventilation, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood goes up along with the concentration of hydrogen ions, and the shift of the blood reaction to the alkaline side is compensated. It should be stressed that this process is linked with cellular homeostasis and blood circulation directly.

Further Discussion

It might be quite challenging to explain the work of the respiratory system to a patient with no medical background. They might be confused by the terminology used; therefore, it is necessary to adapt the language to the individual needs of each client. The healthcare specialist should consider explaining to their patient that the core of the work of this system lies in the way a person breathes. I particular, when an individual breathes, their diaphragm goes up and down (Carlson, 2018). When a person takes a breath, their diaphragm gets tighter to free space for the lungs. When communicating with a medical colleague, it might be explained that, on inhalation, a contraction of the diaphragm and expansion of lungs occur (Carlson, 2018). The difference between approaches is connected to the need to make sure the patient does not feel confused and is provided with the education needed for effective self-care.


Thus, it can be concluded that the respiratory system is one of the most important systems in the human body. It ensures a continuous process of gas exchange between the body and the environment. In the human body, oxidative processes occur constantly, and oxygen from the environment is delivered to the cells, where it binds to carbon and hydrogen. Oxygen facilitates oxidative processes, which are the main biochemical processes in the organism.


Carlson, B. M. (2018). The human body: Linking structure and function. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

Patton, K. T., & Thibodeau, G. A. (2018). The human body in health & disease (7th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.