Difference Between Breathing and Respiration

Breathing and respiration are involuntary actions performed by all living organisms to survive. In the scientific world, breathing and respiration are different bodily activities.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Breathing is the process of inhaling and exhaling air, which allows for exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body.
  2. Respiration is how cells convert oxygen and nutrients into energy through chemical reactions.
  3. Breathing and respiration are closely related processes that are essential for sustaining life.

Breathing vs Respiration

Breathing is the physical act of inhaling and exhaling air, which the lungs control. Respiration is the chemical process by which cells use oxygen to convert glucose into energy. The nose, lungs, and other respiratory organs are used for breathing. Cells and their organelles, such as mitochondria, engage in respiration.

Breathing vs Respiration

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In respiration, the oxygen in the body breaks down glucose. Glucose is then used by the cells of our body to produce energy. This energy lets us function in our daily life. Even though breathing and respiration are activities related to the lungs, they are different.


Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonBreathingRespiration 
DefinitionBreathing involves inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide.Respiration involves the process wherein oxygen is used to break the glucose into energy to be later used by the cells of the body.
Used byBreathing happens in the lungs.Respiration takes place in the cells of the body.
ProcessBreathing is a physical process.Respiration is a chemical process.
EnergyDuring breathing, there is no energy production.Energy is produced during the respiration process in the form of ATP.
CellsIt is an extracellular process as it takes place outside the cells.This is an intracellular process that takes place in the cells.
EnzymesNot in use at the time of breathing.Used in large numbers.
OrgansBreathing happens due to the nose, lungs, etc.Cells, mitochondria- cell organelles carry out the process of respiration.


What is Breathing?

Breathing is the process wherein a living being exchanges gases in the environment with the cells in the body. Breathing is a physical process in which oxygen and carbon dioxide are exhaled.

The inhaling occurs due to the muscles’ contraction, and the exhaling occurs due to the muscle’s relaxation. Organs like the mouth, nose, lungs, etc., assist breathing.

During the exhalation of the carbon dioxide, the diaphragm relaxes, which in turn causes the volume of the thoracic cavity to decrease.

Simultaneously, the pressure in it increases, leading the lungs to contract, forcing the air out of the body.

On the other hand, while we inhale, the lungs expand and pull the ribcage upwards and outward.

Because of this, we take the air in. The air then travels through the windpipe and reaches the lungs.

There are different types of breathing: eupnoea, diaphragmatic, hyperpnoea, and coastal breathing.

Types of Breathing

#1 Eupnoea

It is the type of breathing that is called slow breathing. It happens while the body is at rest. It happens involuntarily.

#2 Hyperpnoea

This type of breathing occurs when there is a lack of oxygen in the body. For example, the hard laboured breathing after an intense workout session.

#3 Diaphragmatic

 This type of breathing occurs when the diaphragm contracts. While breathing, the chest doesn’t show any action; instead, the breathing is done by the abdomen. There is a visible activity in the abdomen.

#4 Costal

Costal breathing, also called shallow breathing, needs the intercostal muscles to contract. Intercostal muscles are the muscles usually used while inhaling.

In coastal breathing, the ribcage is used to both inhale and exhale.


What is Respiration?

Respiration is the process by which the oxygen in the body is converted to glucose, and carbon dioxide and other gases are released from the cells and tissues.

The oxygen is used to break down glucose to produce energy.

This energy is then used by the cells and tissues of the body for the vital function of the organs and, overall, our body and its functions.

Respiration is a chemical process that occurs in the cells and mitochondria. Many enzymes are involved in the process of respiration.

The energy produced during respiration helps the cells to grow and repair it.


Main Differences Between Breathing and Respiration

  1. Breathing is the process wherein the living organism inhales oxygen and exhales carbon dioxide, whereas respiration is the process that uses oxygen to produce energy.
  2. Breathing is a physical process, but respiration is a chemical process.
  3. Breathing occurs with the help of organs like the nose, mouth, lungs, etc., whereas respiration happens due to the oxygen that breaks down the glucose to produce energy.
  4. No enzymes are used while breathing, but many enzymes are used to facilitate the process of respiration.
  5. Breathing is an extracellular process because it happens outside the cells. On the other hand, respiration is an intracellular process as it happens within the cells.
  6. Breathing occurs in the lungs, and respiration occurs in the cell.
  7. Respiration creates oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water, of which oxygen is used, and others are exhaled due to breathing.
Difference Between Breathing and Respiration
  1. https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/369474
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1526590012006530
  3. https://www.physiology.org/doi/pdf/10.1152/jappl.1950.2.11.592
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