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What function do the lungs perform?

Claudia I. Henschke, MD
Diagnostic Radiology
Absorbing oxygen from the air through the process of inhalation, the lungs bring oxygen into the bloodstream, which carries oxygen to the rest of the body. The cells of the body release carbon dioxide as they use oxygen. This is carried back to the lungs by the veins. The carbon dioxide leaves the lungs when the lungs exhale. Most of the cells in the lungs are called epithelial cells. These line the airways and produce mucus, which lubricates and protects the lungs.
The lungs play a critical role in the body, extracting oxygen from inhaled air for distribution via the bloodstream to every cell in the body. Conversely, during exhalation the lungs expel waste -- carbon dioxide produced when cells use oxygen.

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