The human nose, while it might look relatively simple on the outside, is actually a very complex structure. It also serves multiple purposes and you just might find that some of them are rather surprising.
It is a Temperature Control
One of the main functions of your nose, obviously, is giving you a way to breathe! However, there is more to breathing than simply delivering air to your lungs.
If you are outside and it is very cold, when you breathe into your nose the air warms in the nasal cavity before it hits your lungs. This helps to protect your body against the damage that cold air can do. Your nose can also cool off air if it happens to be very hot.
It is a Humidifier
Your nose also serves a role in ensuring that the air that you breathe is humid enough to be healthy for your lungs. As everyone knows, the interior of your nose tends to be moist and some of that moisture is imparted to air as you inhale. This helps to ensure that the air you are inhaling is not overly dry.
It is a Filter
It is a good idea to trim the hair around the outside of your nose, simply for cosmetic reasons, but do not trim the hair on the inside too much. That hair performs a very important function.
If you have ever inhaled something and got it caught in your nose, the hair and mucus that line your nose would have caught it. The hair and the mucus form a very effective filter that keeps particulate matter out of your lungs.
They may not be the most attractive things in the world, but the hairs in your nose really do help keep you healthy.
It is a Sensory Organ
Everybody knows that dogs have a much better sense of smell than human beings. In fact, many animals have a better sense of smell than human beings.
Researchers have come up with one of the reasons that this is the case. Human beings have approximately 1000 olfactory receptor genes, which are responsible for giving you your sense of smell. Of those 1000 olfactory receptor genes, however, only about 347 of them are actually functional. The rest don’t work.
We do have a good ability to sense the difference between long chain chemical compounds, such as those that are associated with flowers. However, we lack a developed ability to smell short chain chemical compounds, which dogs are very good at doing, and many other animals are, as well.
You will never have the same sense of smell as your faithful canine or feline friends, but human beings do have a good sense of smell, at least certain types of chemicals.
Little Differences in Structure Can Mean a Lot
On top of all of this, and with all of its very precise workings, your nose is actually very durable. The cartilage that makes up the structure of your nose is flexible enough to take a lot of damage and go right back into its proper shape. Sometimes, however, it does get broken and, for some people, they have an abnormality that they were born within the structure of their nose and abnormalities for either reason can make a big difference in how well your nose functions.
A deviated septum, for instance, where the dividing portion of the nose is out of alignment, can cause a lot of difficulty breathing. These conditions and others can be fixed by surgeons who perform rhinoplasty, which involves correcting the structure of the nose for either cosmetic or health reasons, oftentimes both.
If you have questions or concerns about rhinoplasty see your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a nose surgeon.
- Respiratory System Introduction – YouTube
- Nasal Anatomy – ARS Caregivers
- Nose Facts – Science for Kids
- The Primates: Overview – Palomar College