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.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology