window of world
Home Health & Fitness Disease & Illness Diaphragm: Meaning, Function and Disease

Diaphragm: Meaning, Function and Disease

Definition of Diaphragm

Windowofworld.com – Diaphragm are organs that separate the abdominal cavity from the chest cavity. To get the maximum amount of oxygen when breathing in, the body will use breathing muscles including the diaphragm.

The diaphragm is the main muscle used in the process of breathing and exhaling. The diaphragm is located below the chest cavity and is shaped like a muscular dome. These organs separate the heart and lungs from the abdominal organs (stomach, intestine, spleen, and liver). The body depends on contraction and movement of the diaphragm so that breathing can function normally.

Diaphragm Function

When breathing in, the breathing muscles in the chest cavity expand and the diaphragm will contract flatter. This makes it easy for air or oxygen to move into the lungs because the chest cavity pressure drops suddenly. Meanwhile, when exhaling, the diaphragm will relax until the size of the lungs also shrink. The air pressure in the chest cavity increases and air flows out.


Besides being useful in the function of breathing, the diaphragm also has several other functions. The diaphragm helps when we vomit, urinate, and defecate. You do this by increasing the pressure of the abdominal cavity. The diaphragm also prevents gastroesophageal reflux (rising stomach acid from the esophagus) by maintaining pressure on the esophagus.

Did you know that good breathing is to develop a diaphragm, not the chest? Breathing with a diaphragm helps the lungs grow larger, so that they can enter more air. Breathing with a diaphragm can be trained by lying down. The trick, lie on your back and place one hand on the stomach and the other hand on the chest.

When inhaling, push your stomach up as far as possible. You can feel the hands in the abdomen move upward, while the hands on the chest do not move. And when you release the rest of the air, push your stomach down until you feel the hand in your stomach move down.

Disorders that occur in the diaphragm

Just like other organs, the diaphragm can also experience interference, some of which are:

1. Hiatus hernia

Hiatus hernias occur when part of the abdominal organs penetrates into the chest cavity through a hole in the diaphragm. This disease is more often experienced by women, obese people, and those over the age of 50 years. The cause of hiatal hernias is unknown, but is thought to be due to weakening of the diaphragm as we age, poor development of the diaphragm while in the womb, increased pressure in the stomach, pregnancy, frequent coughing, or straining during bowel movements.

2. Congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Congenital diaphragmatic hernias or congenital diaphragmatic hernias (CDH) occur when the diaphragm is not fully formed from the womb and causes part of the stomach contents protruding toward the chest cavity. One of the organs in the stomach will move to the chest and occupy the space where the lungs should be.

As a result, the baby’s lungs, heart, kidneys, and digestive system cannot develop properly. About 4 out of 10,000 newborns suffer from CDH. The long-term effects of CDH may not be present at all, but children with CDH can have chronic lung problems at an early age.

3. Paralyzed diaphragm

When there is nerve damage that regulates the respiratory muscles, including the diaphragm, there will be paralysis of the diaphragm. Some conditions that can cause diaphragmatic paralysis are Guillain-Barré syndrome and spinal cord injury. This disorder can cause disruption of the respiratory process and can even cause sufferers to experience respiratory failure. This disorder is included in the medical emergency condition and needs to get treatment as soon as possible.

Diaphragm abnormalities, which are detected early, can be treated before they cause complications. If there are signs that lead to paralysis of the diaphragm, such as uncomfortable breathing or shortness that can be followed by nausea or vomiting, and fatigue easily when on the move, you need to immediately check your condition to the doctor, because it can be life threatening.

How you feel for this post?
Share your vote!
Secured By miniOrange