FlipFact of the Day: To say that the lungs are a critical component of your body would be an understatement. Aside from the important roles they fulfill in respiration and waste management, a recent study found that they may also play a significant part in blood production. Here’s another thing that might surprise you about your lungs: One of them is slightly larger than the other.
Comprised of an elastic, spongy tissue that’s pink in color, your lungs are just above your diaphragm, enclosed inside your rib cage. Due to their location, your right lung is slightly shorter and wider than your left lung. Your left lung has what we call a cardiac notch—it’s an indentation on its anterior (front) border that accommodates the space the heart takes up beneath your sternum. The right lung, on the other hand, is shorter to make room for the liver right below it, which the rib cage also partially protects.
Both of your lungs are divided into lobes; the left one has two lobes, while the right one has three. As your bronchi (the airways stemming from your trachea or windpipe) enter your lungs, they continue to branch out until they reach the alveoli, the small sacs where the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen takes place.
Your lungs are among the largest organs in your body. Aside from having a surface area that’s almost as big as a tennis court, the total length of the airways inside them stretches about 1,500 mi (over 2.4 km). So literally and figuratively, your lungs are indeed a big deal.
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