Skip to Content
View Additional Content In This Section
The diaphragm is a large sheet of muscle that separates the chest
cavity (containing the lungs and heart) from the abdominal cavity (containing
the digestive organs).
The diaphragm also serves as a muscle to help draw air into the
lungs as a person breathes. It contracts to expand the lungs when breathing in
(inhaling) and relaxes when breathing out (exhaling). If the diaphragm is not
able to move as it should, breathing may become difficult.
Current as of:
August 21, 2015
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.