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# Major Lung Volumes and Capacities Help

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## Introduction Major Lung Volumes and Capacities

This section now reveals how much we breathe. Specifically, this section deals with various lung volumes and capacities .

### Tidal Volume (tv)

Take a single breath while you are resting. This breath is called the tidal volume, abbreviated as TV. The tidal volume (TV) is named for its resemblance to a real tide – the moving of waves of water back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and-forth, upon the sand of a beach. The tidal volume is the amount of air exhaled after the person takes a normal resting inspiration. It amounts to about 500 ml (milliliters) in an average human adult.

### Vital Capacity (vc)

Another important measurement of pulmonary function is the vital capacity, abbreviated as VC. Vita ( VEE -tah) comes from the Latin and means “life.” The vital capacity (VC) therefore represents a person’s capacity for life. Technically, the VC is defined as the total amount of air that a person can inhale and exhale from normal, uncollapsed lungs.

### Residual Volume (rv)

When you or I exhale, our alveoli normally don’t completely collapse. If we picture each alveolus as a balloon, then the alveolus balloon only partially deflates during expiration, simply becoming smaller, rather than totally deflating. As a result, there is usually a residual volume, or RV . The residual volume (RV) is literally the residual or “left-over” volume, still remaining within the alveoli even after expiration has occurred. This partial, residual inflation greatly reduces the amount of work required to completely re-inflate the lungs during the next cycle of inspiration.

### Total Lung Capacity (tlc)

If we add both the vital capacity (VC) and the residual volume (RV) together, we obtain the total lung capacity (TLC) :

The total lung capacity therefore represents the total amount of air that the lungs can possibly hold.

Practice problems for these concepts can be found at:  The Respiratory System Test

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