Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Differences Between Alveoli and Bronchi

Alveoli vs Bronchi

With our heart beating and the rise and fall of our chest signifies that we are alive. Undoubtedly, we need air in order to keep us living. We are able to breathe because of the help of our respiratory system. Have you ever wondered how we breathe? Of course, the lungs play the biggest role in our breathing. But without some of our body’s important respiratory structures, like the alveoli and bronchi, we wouldn’t be able to breathe.

Probably you have already heard about the alveoli and the bronchi since elementary school. But these topics were only superficially addressed. Let us demonstrate the simple differences between alveoli and bronchi.

“Alveoli” is the plural form for “alveolus.” Envision an image of the lungs. At the tip of our lungs, there are small, branching airways called bronchioles. And at the tip of our bronchioles, we can spot tiny, air sacs. These are called the alveoli. The major function of these tiny, air sacs is the carbon dioxide and oxygen exchange.

Other functions of the alveoli include the production of pulmonary surfactants, enzymes, and hormones. The pulmonary surfactant is a kind of liquid substance that helps regulate the passing of substances in and out of the lungs. It also serves as a cushion within our respiratory organs. Aside from that, the alveoli are also the sites where we process dangerous air substances like chemicals, pathogens, and drugs.

So how big is our pulmonary alveolus? Perhaps the right question would be, how small is our pulmonary alveolus? An alveolus is so small that it is only twice the thickness of our hair. The average size of an alveolus is about 250 microns. When we are born, we have 200,000,000 alveoli. But as we become an adult, this number doubles.

On the other hand, “bronchi” is the plural term for “bronchus.” Basically, a bronchus is described as a large tube that connects our trachea to our lungs. It then branches out to form smaller bronchial tubes. Our bronchi are responsible for carrying air in and out of our lungs.

Do you know that our right bronchus is larger than our left bronchus? Medical practitioners have said that it is due to the structure of our heart. Since our heart is situated on the left side, our left bronchus is compressed and it is thus shorter. Our right bronchus branches out into three lobar bronchi, while our left bronchus branches out to only two lobar bronchi. The smallest branching tubes are then called bronchioles. As we have said earlier, at the tip of the bronchioles lie  our alveoli.

Usually, our bronchi can catch diseases like bronchitis and asthma. “Bronchitis” means that there is an inflammation and infection of our bronchial airways. On the other hand, asthma can be an inborn condition and is signified by wheezing.


  1. The lungs are the major organs for respiration. The alveoli and bronchi are two of the lungs’ main components that play important roles in the breathing process.

  2. “Alveoli” is the plural term for “alveolus.” An alveolus is a tiny, air sac which is found at the tip of the smallest tube airways called bronchioles.

  3. “Bronchi” is the plural term for “bronchus.” We have two major bronchi, the right and the left. The right bronchus is typically larger than the left.

  4. The main function of the alveoli is to help in the gas exchange – carbon dioxide and oxygen. On the other hand, the main function of the bronchi is to connect the trachea and lungs to be able to carry air in and outside of our body.

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