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Respiratory mechanics explain how the forces generated by respiratory muscles cause effective ventilation of the alveoli. Resistance and compliance are two physical factors important in determining the relationship between pressure and flow in the lungs, and in the distribution of ventilation to different regions of the lungs. The effectiveness of ventilation depends not only on the amount of fresh air reaching the alveoli, but also on the matching of ventilation blood flow in different regions of the lung. Understanding how the mechanical properties of individual components of the respiratory system affect the behavior of the whole system is useful in diagnosing and treating many pulmonary diseases, such as asthma, emphysema, and infant respiratory distress syndrome.
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