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The Good Stuff
Breathing Deeply Facts
by B. A. Llewellyn
Length:  576 words 

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22 Facts about Breathing Deeply 

1. The right lung has three separate compartments.

2. The left lung has two compartments.

3. Shallow breathers (most of us) rarely use the lower lobe of our lungs.

4. Most of the blood circulation in our lungs is in our lower lobes.  The blood flow at the bottom of our lungs is over a litre per minute.

5. Most of us breathe with the top part of our lungs where the rate of blood flow is less than a tenth of a litre per minute.

6. We can survive with just a few litres of air going into our lungs every minute.

7. In a dramatic situation our lungs, and our bodies, can breathe in, and very successfully organise over one hundred litres of air a minute.

8. Every 24 hours we breathe approximately twenty thousand times.

9. Nearly three-quarters of our lung (or liver or kidney) tissue can be lost without noticing any substantive loss of function.

10. Cigarette smoke (smokers usually inhale deeply but don't exhale completely), or pollution, can stay in the lower part of the lungs for the length of time it takes us to exert ourselves (climbing stairs, running, etc) so that we are forced to take deep breaths and finally push out the waste products at the bottom of our lungs.

11. "Ohana" is the contemporary Hawaiian word for "family", but its older meaning was "people who breathe together."

12. "Haoles" which is Hawaiian for "people without breath" was the name given to missionaries when they came to the Hawaiian Islands.

13. Our brain uses 20-25% of our air supply, yet is only 2% of our body's weight.

14. If we moved into a high altitude, our bodies would take about one to two months to adapt.  In the beginning, our red blood cells (that normally take the oxygen from our lungs around our body)  would find that they're not getting enough oxygen from the new surroundings.  So our bodies, very sensibly, would then create lots of new red blood cells to collect all the extra air that is needed.

15. A healthy male can manage very well with a mere 5,000,000 red blood cells per cubic millimetre of blood at sea level.  However the same man will possibly need, and create, as many as  8,000,000 red blood cells per cubic millimetre of blood to compensate for moving to a high altitude (12,000 feet).

16. Oxygen is only 20% of the air we breathe.  The remainder is mostly Nitrogen with less than 1% Carbon Dioxide.  Each inhalation also contains irritants, dust and pollutants.

17. Our noses are pollution controllers.  They are designed with a set of filters for clearing the larger particles of dust from the air. 

18. Our mouths are not equipped for filtering air.

19. Our lungs are covered by a lining called the pleura, and they are lubricated by a slick substance called surfactant so that they can slide around freely.

20. An exhalation releases about 14% oxygen, 69% nitrogen, 5% carbon dioxide,  some water vapour and traces of other gases.

21. We can increase the efficiency of our lungs a thousand fold by increasing our air intake by 5% on each breath.

22. “Blessed are the poor in spirit” is a translation.  According to scholar Neal Douglas, in its original Aramaic language it meant “Happy and aligned with the One are those who find their home in the breathing”.


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