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Internal and External Respiration

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The survival of the human body depends on two kinds of respiration: the internal and external respiration. While people think that the two are one and the same, however, there lies considerable difference between the two. For starters, external respiration is the exchange of gases between the lungs and the outside world and takes place before internal respiration, while on the other hand, internal respiration is the exchange of gases inside the human body between blood and cells.

Internal and external respiration cannot survive without each other. They are incomplete processes on their own and need the assistance of one another to complete the whole process of respiration. The body depends on internal respiration as much as it depends on external respiration. In fact, the term ‘respiration’ refers to the both of them collectively. However, to gain a full understanding of the two body processes, one needs to understand the various differences that exist between the two. So let us now delve into the various differences that exist between the two kinds of respiration to find out more about them.

 Differences between Internal and External Respiration

In both internal and external respiration, exchange of gases takes place, either inside our body or outside our body. There do exist a few differences between the two, which we are now about to discover.

External respiration is basically just plain and simple breathing. In this kind of respiration, we take in or inhale oxygen from the air through our nose and mouth into our lungs, and exhale carbon dioxide into the air. In this process, the oxygen is basically mixed with our blood, and the resulting carbon dioxide is expelled. It is this external respiration which makes all our organs function properly. If we don’t perform this external respiration, internal respiration won’t even take place.

Internal respiration is also known as cellular respiration or tissue respiration. It is basically a simple metabolic procedure in which oxygen is released from the blood into the tissues and cells, and carbon dioxide is absorbed by the blood, which in turn carry the carbon the dioxide to the lungs to expel it from the body. The oxygen that is absorbed by the different cells and tissues of the various organs helps in the production of energy by forming adenosine triphosphate or ATP. Internal respiration makes use of the air inhaled by external respiration. Internal respiration on its own cannot do much if it cannot expel the toxic carbon dioxide gas from our body, which is done by the external respiration system.

A visual representation of the whole thing will give you a better grasp of the whole concept. Following is the link of a short video showing the workings of internal and external respiration.

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