Facts & Functions
The body needs oxygen to sustain itself. The human respiratory system is a series of organs responsible for taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. The lungs carry out this exchange of gases as we breathe.
Blood cells collect oxygen from the lungs and carry it to various parts of the body. The red blood cells collect the carbon dioxide and transport it back to the lungs, where it leaves the body when we exhale.
The average rate of breathing depends on age. A new-born’s normal breathing rate is about 40 x per minute, but it may slow down to 20 x per minute when sleeping,
The average adult resting respiratory rate is 12 to 16 breaths per minute. Physical action influences this, so strenuous exercise can push this rate up to an average of 45 breaths per minute.
A decrease in oxygen (hypoxia) and a complete lack of oxygen (anoxia) can be fatal. After about 4 minutes without oxygen brain cells start dying, resulting in brain damage and ultimately, death.