The respiratory system consists of organs that process air in the body, including the nose, throat, and lungs. The nose is the entrance to the respiratory tract. The throat is the hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes to the stomach). The lungs are the organs that make it possible for people to breathe; their principal function is to transport oxygen from the atmosphere into the bloodstream and to release carbon dioxide from the bloodstream into the atmosphere.
During a normal day, the average person breathes nearly 25,000 times, taking in large amounts of air. According to the American Lung Association, approximately 342,000 Americans die from lung diseases each year; lung disease is the number three cause of death in the United States, responsible for one in seven deaths.
Many factors, including genetics, pollutants and irritants, and infectious diseases, may affect the health of the respiratory system.
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