Surface Area of Lungs

Surface Area of Lungs


The surface area of your lungs is roughly the same size as a tennis court.


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Your lungs work hard. Even when you're resting, they're diligently transporting oxygen into your bloodstream and moving carbon dioxide out. They're part of a serious business run by an intricate structure of organs and tissues—aka your respiratory system. To keep you alive and breathing, your lungs are on the clock 24/7, 365 days a year. Breathing 12 to 15 times a minute, translating to 17,000 breaths a day or more than 6 million breaths a year. And no vacation days!

Your lungs are one of the largest organs in your body. The surface area of both lungs is roughly the same size as a tennis court and the total length of the airways running through them is 1,500 miles. That's about the distance from Chicago to Las Vegas.

When you breathe in—either through your nose or mouth—air moves from the throat down to the windpipe and into two main bronchial tubes that lead to each lung. These tubes then branch out into smaller passages called bronchioles, which deliver the air to small air sacs called alveoli. It's here where fresh oxygen from the air is exchanged for carbon dioxide in the blood.


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