Where does most of the carbon dioxide that diffuses from blood into the alveolus come from?

Question:

Where does most of the carbon dioxide that diffuses from blood into the alveolus come from?

Breathing:

Breathing makes for one of the vital signs that indicates that a person is in health. This process trades some oxygen in the air for some carbon dioxide in the blood. We may thus reasonably ask whence comes the carbon dioxide in the blood.

Answer and Explanation:

Most of the carbon dioxide that diffuses from blood into the alveolus comes from cells that make it as a byproduct of cellular respiration. Note that even though it has the word "respiration" in it, cellular respiration refers to a different process than the respiration of breathing. Cellular respiration is a process in which cells burn food with oxygen from the lungs. It involves several chemical reactions, during which sugar burns with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide, water, power, and waste heat.

The cells throughout the body use cellular respiration as part of their basic biological processes, producing carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide has to leave the cells, and it does so through the blood then the lungs. If the cells did not clear out the carbon dioxide in this manner, then the body would have its pH become unhealthy, so we can see this as part of maintaining the body's balance. The body would become more acidic with excess carbon dioxide, which can produce unwanted effects throughout the body and mind.


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Carbon Dioxide Transport in the Blood

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Chapter 13 / Lesson 4
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Carbon dioxide is transported in the blood in two different forms, bicarbonate and carbaminohemoglobin. In this lesson, dive into carbon dioxide transportation in the blood, in the lungs, and in metabolizing tissues.


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