You Are Less Than 800 Nanometers From Death

If your lungs were to fill up with fluid what would happen? If your blood were to take on large amounts of air what would happen? Well… it's fairly simple… you would die. But, strangely, our lungs are always filled with enough fluid (blood) just a few cell widths from our air sacs (alveoli) to kill us, yet we are not dead. Why? Our lungs are also always filling with enough air just a few cell widths away from our blood to kill us, yet we are still alive. And... without this strange nearness we would die.

Our lives depend upon a membrane called the alveolar-capillary barrier. This membrane varies from 200 to 800 nanometers thick. 1 inch = 25,400,000 nanometers. A red blood cell is 7,000 nanometers in diameter. So this is a very thin line between life and death. This membrane is amazingly strong, and it keeps blood out of the lungs, and air out of the blood. So it is sometimes called the blood-air barrier.

So... if there is a blood-air barrier between our blood vessels and alveoli how does oxygen get into the blood and carbon dioxide get out of the blood? Only on the molecular level. The barrier is designed to only allow the exchange of certain gas molecules! We are constantly only 800 nanometers or less from death. Another amazing precision system designed without any room for error. We are wonderfully made by an all powerful Creator!

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