The nose is one of the most important organs in our body, because through it we can breathe and smell. It is the main air intake in the respiratory system and is located more or less in the middle of our face, protruding above the mouth.
Through the nose and the respiratory system, we bring much needed oxygen into our body so that the cells can carry out their metabolic processes and can continue to live.
Then we will see the most important parts of the nose, What are its functions and its exact location on the external and internal part of this organ.
What are the parts of the nose?
The nose has been a very important structure for our body since represents the main air inlet. This oxygen-containing air will eventually go to the lungs where it is introduced into the bloodstream and travel to all cells in the body, thereby allowing cellular respiration and associated metabolic processes to take place.
Although the mouth can also introduce air into the body, the nose is the safest entry because it has mechanisms to protect us from airborne pathogens.
When we bring air into our body, we do inhalation. The air circulates around us and goes to the nostrils, then goes to the nasal cavity. It then passes through the back of our throat, through the windpipe and finally into the lungs. By exhaling, that is, expelling air, we basically do the same process but in reverse, starting in the lungs and exiting through the nostrils.
But the nose is not only involved in respiratory function, but it is also the place where there is a fundamental sense of how to detect whether a food is edible or not: smell. The cells responsible for transforming olfactory stimuli into nerve impulses have direct communication with the central nervous system., Enabling a rapid and efficient response to a pleasant stimulus, such as the smell of freshly baked bread, or to an unpleasant stimulus, such as the smell of a corpse.
Next, we will go into detail about the different parts that make up the nose, both in its external and internal part, as well as to see what their functions are and how they connect with the respiratory and sensory systems.
The parts of the nose that can be seen and that protrude from the face form the outer nasal structure. Basically, the outer part is made up of a carcass of bone and cartilage covered with very thin muscles which, in turn, are lined with a thin layer of skin.
1. Root and furrow
Anatomically speaking, the nose begins in the groove, which is the region above the upper lip., And ends at the root, which is the part that sits between the eyebrows, just above the face.
2. Bridge and return
The pyramidal shape of the human nose is due to two structures, both located between the root and the most pointed part of this structure: the bridge and the back. The main function of these two structures is to protect the inside of the nose.
The bridge is a structure that its main feature is the hard part of the nose. It is made up of small bones that give it stiffness, although it must be said that they are quite fragile and that in case of trauma or illness they can deform and hurt, making it difficult to breathe.
The back, also called the nasal pyramid, is the cartilaginous part of the outer nose. It is a fairly firm structure but, unlike the bridge, it offers more flexibility. In its part closest to the lip, rounded and partially pointed, we find the nasal lobe.
3. Nasal fins or wings
At the end of the nose, we can find fragments of tissue related to the rest of the face. These structures are the fins or nasal wings which, depending on their thickness, they determine the opening of the nostrils.
The nostrils communicate with the outside through the nostrils, which are the external openings of the nose, that is, they are the holes in the nose. Their opening depends a lot on the thickness of the nasal wings. Nostrils, if they are very closed, they can be a serious breathing problem that requires corrective surgery.
The nose is not just the two holes and the pyramidal structure that we can see in the middle of the face. It also has deep parts that connect to the trachea and the brain, Allowing air to reach the lungs and send nerve information to the olfactory centers of the brain.
1. Nasal passages
If the nostrils are the gateway to the nose, the nostrils are the room. It is the deep part of the nostrils, where the air enters with all its suspended particles.
2. Nasal septum
The two nostrils are separated from each other by a structure called the nasal septum. In its deepest part, near the brain, it is made up of very thin bones, while in the most superficial part and near the tip of the nose, it is shaped by the cartilage. When this structure deforms and pulls apart, one nasal cavity can be larger than the other, resulting in difficulty in breathing.
3. Nasal cavity
The nasal cavity is a space that connects the nose to the posterior region of the throat. It is one of the first places in the respiratory system through which the air we breathe circulates to thus begin its journey to the lungs, transported through the trachea. Its shape is more or less cylindrical, divided in half by the nasal septum and surrounded by the paranasal sinuses.
4. Paranasal sinuses
Around the nasal cavity we find structures in the form of air-filled sacs called paranasal sinuses, near the nostrils. Like the nostrils, the sinuses are lined with mucous membranes. We can distinguish four types.
On one side are the ethmoidal breasts. They are located on the inside of the face, around the nasal bridge area. At birth, they develop and continue to grow.
The maxillary sinuses are located inside the face, Around the cheek. They are also developed at birth and develop later.
Third, there is the frontal sinuses, which are inside the face, Around the forehead. They don’t start to develop until they are 7 years old.
finally sphenoid breasts are located deep in the face, Just behind the nose. They do not develop until adolescence.
There has been widespread debate over whether the paranasal sinuses can be considered vestigial organs, as they have been linked to an increased likelihood of infectious disease. However, it has been repeatedly argued that they could perform several basic functions for our health:
- Facial trauma pillow
- Humidify and heat the aspirated air
- thermal insulation
- Increases the resonance of the voice
- Immune defense against certain diseases
- Decrease the relative weight of the skull.
5. Mucous membrane
All the internal structures of the nose are covered with a tissue called the mucous membrane or respiratory mucosa. Its main function is to maintain a humid environment inside the nose, making the sucked air moist and warm.. This is essential, because if we inhale cold, dry air, the inner surface of the lungs could be severely damaged.
In addition, the mucous membrane produces, as the name suggests, mucus. Although visually mucus is not a very pleasant thing, it plays a very important role in our health, as it is the main protective barrier of our respiratory system against pathogens, dust and other airborne particles, which could infect us and cause us disease. Human being we are constantly producing mucus and when we are healthy, we produce on average one liter per day.
Inside the nose we can find thousands of microscopic hairs called eyelashes. Its main function is to prevent the mucus produced by the respiratory mucosa, which has trapped dust and pathogens, from ending up in the lungs or other structures of the respiratory system and the skull. Thanks to these lozenges, the mucus comes out, causing us to sneeze or sneeze.
7. Olfactory receptors
In addition to being the entry of air, thus initiating breathing, the nose is also the organ in which the sense of smell is located. While in the human species it is not very developed, the sense of smell allows us to identify whether a food is in good condition or in bad condition, without having to try to discover it in such a way as to endanger our health. .
When a food smells good, our brain interprets it as a very nutritious and energetic food., Activate the appetite and squeeze for us to eat it. On the other hand, when a food stinks, it is interpreted as toxic, rotten, or unfit for human consumption, which causes us to respond to disgust and I know we are not attracted to it.
The sense of smell must be possessed by millions of cells inside of us, which are the scent receptors. These cells are chemoreceptors, that is, cells that specialize in identifying chemicals. and are part of a piece of tissue called the olfactory epithelium, located in the uppermost part of the nasal cavity. These cells connect directly to the brain, which very quickly speeds up the body’s response to a beneficial or harmful food.
- Fox, SI (2002). Human physiology. McGraw-Hill.
- Escajadillo, JR (2009). Ear, nose, throat, and head and neck surgery. Mexico: the modern manual.