What are the Structure and Function of Alveoli?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

The alveoli are small balloon shaped structures which are the tiniest composition of the respiratory system. Alveoli helps in the lungs and blood help in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide during breathing.


Alveoli are the small sacs in the lungs that exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Structure of alveoli:

  1. They are compositions in the form of small balloons.
  2. The respiratory system’s smallest compositions are found there.
  3. Alveoli are arranged throughout the lungs in groups called clusters.
  4. They are situated at the ends of the respiratory tree’s branches.
  5. Because of the thin walls, oxygen and carbon dioxide can easily travel between capillaries and alveoli.


  1. When breathing in and out, it is the composition from which the blood and lungs exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen.
  2. The oxygen that is breathed in travels via the alveoli and into the blood before reaching the tissues throughout the entire body.
  3. The body’s tissues release carbon dioxide into the blood, which then travels via the alveoli and is exhaled.

What are the structure and function of alveoli?

What causes damage to alveoli?

Only when the tissue of the alveoli is healthy can they function properly. Alveoli can suffer from certain medical disorders that result in swelling, scarring, infections, and fluid (water, pus, or blood) buildup. Known as alveolar lung diseases, these include:

  1. Pneumonia
  2. Tuberculosis
  3. Emphysema
  4. Bronchioloalveolar carcinoma
  5. Alveolar proteinosis
  6. Respiratory distress syndrome
  7. Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  8. Pulmonary edema


What are the Structure and Function of Alveoli?

The respiratory system’s smallest component, the alveoli, are tiny balloon-shaped structures. During breathing, alveoli in the lungs and blood aid in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

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