The Human Body is An Example of Amazing Efficiency

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The way our body works is an amazing thing. Millions of different actions come together so that our bodies can function the way that they do. If you really think about it, it is amazing how we can survive day to day. There are certain laws and forces that are the reason behind the human body can function as efficiently as it does. Gas laws help us understand certain aspects of human anatomy such as pressure. Laplace’s Law is one gas law that helps explain distending pressures within the body. Terry Jardins explained in his book, Cardiopulmonary Anatomy & Physiology Essentials of respiratory care that “Laplace’s law describes how the distending pressure of a liquid bubble is influenced by (1) the surface tension of the bubble and (2) the size of the bubble itself (Jardins). If the sphere only has one liquid-gas interface then the equation is written as P= 2ST/r (Jardins).” In this equation P represents the pressure difference which will be measured in dynes/cm2. ST will be the variable for surface tension and will also be measured in dynes/cm2. R equals the radius and will be measured in centimeters (Jardins). Laplace’s law comes from a man named Pierre-Simon Laplace, who was a French astronomer and mathematician. He was born in 1749 and died in 1827. While Laplace is known for his gas law he also studies tides and the theoretical orbits of planets and numerous other topics ("Law of laplace,”). One of the ways that Laplace’s law applies to healthcare and respiratory therapy is that this law applies to the lungs. The alveoli in the lungs are in constant contact with each other which means that they only have one surface area. This surface area is referred to as the intra-alveolar surface area (Jardins). Douglas Gardenhire ... ... middle of paper ... ...rnal pressure of a drop, the amount of surface tension, and the radius of the drop. As Respiratory Therapist we can use the understanding of this law to apply it to a clinical application. If a patient is diagnosed with pulmonary edema we can use our knowledge of Laplace’s law to understand that the greater the surface tension of the fluid outside of the alveoli, the greater the compressing force inside the alveoli will be. By acknowledging this we now know that this patient is at risk for alveolar collapse. Works Cited Gardenhire, D. Rau's respiratory care pharmacology . (8th ed., p. 172). St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Mosby. Jardins, T. Cardiopulmonary anatomy & physiology essentials of respiratory care . (6th ed., p. 102,103). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning Law of laplace . (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/lawoflaplace

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