An educational health series from Understanding Exercise, Diet and Lung Disease Our Mission since 1899 is to heal, to discover, and to educate as a preeminent healthcare institution. We serve by providing the best integrated and innovative care for patients and their families; by understanding and finding cures for the diseases we research; and by educating and training the next generation of healthcare professionals to be leaders in medicine and science. njhealth.org In thIs Issue About Your Lungs and Chronic Lung Disease 2 Beginning and Maintaining an Exercise Program 6 Eating Well and Maintaining a Healthy Weight 16 Living with Chronic Lung Disease 24 Glossary 28 Note: This information is provided to you as an educational service of National Jewish Health. It is not meant as a substitute for your own doctor. © Copyright 2006, revised 2013, National Jewish Health An educational health series from National Jewish Health® Understanding Exercise, Diet and Lung Disease 2 About Your Lungs and Chronic Lung Disease Your Lungs and How They Work Your lungs are part of the system for breathing. This is the respiratory system. The respiratory system serves to provide oxygen to the blood, which the heart pumps throughout the body. It also removes carbon dioxide, a gas your body does not need, from the blood. In addition to the lungs, you need the mouth and nose, the trachea and diaphragm to breathe. As the diagram on the right illustrates, when you inhale, fresh air enters through the nose and mouth and travels to the lungs via the windpipe (trachea). Once in the lungs, the air moves through a series of smaller and smaller airways. These airways are lined with cilia (hairlike structures) and cells that produce mucus. The cilia is coated by a layer of mucus and beats in a rhythmic fashion to clean the lungs. The airways are also surrounded by smooth muscle. At the end of the airways are grape-like sacs, called alveoli.