Without Clean Air Your Body Can’t Properly Function!
The cells in the body use oxygen to transfer energy stored in food to a usable form. This process, called cellular respiration, allows the cells to harness energy to perform vital functions, such as powering muscles and the movement of materials into and out of cells. Without oxygen in the body, cells can function for a limited period; long-term oxygen depletion leads to cell death and eventually death of the organism.
Cells Use Oxygen to Assist in Cellular Respiration
Red blood cells are the primary transporters of oxygen. These cells receive oxygen as air is breathed in through the lungs. Oxygen binds itself to these cells, which then carry it to the heart. The heart circulates the oxygenated blood to cells throughout the body in the process of cellular respiration.
When exercising, the body may deplete oxygen faster than it can be taken to the cells. This causes a temporary oxygen deprivation. Muscle cells can perform anaerobic (airless) respiration for a limited amount of time when this happens. Anaerobic respiration generates lactic acid, which builds up in the muscles, causing cramping and fatigue.
DEPRIVATION AND DEATH
If cells are deprived of oxygen for a long period, the organism cannot survive. Electrons build up in the electron transport system, halting the production of ATP. Without ATP, cells cannot perform vital functions, such as keeping the heart beating and the lungs moving in and out. The organism will soon lose consciousness and will die if oxygen is not quickly restored.