The cardiovascular system, also know as the circulatory system, is defined by the Online Medical Dictionary as the heart and the blood vessels by which blood is pumped and circulated throughout the body. This definition provides a simplistic overview of just what exactly the cardiovascular system consists of. More specifically, the cardiovascular system is responsible for delivering nutrients and other essential materials, namely oxygen, to the cells in your body. It is also responsible for removing waste materials from the body, primarily carbon dioxide.
Cardiovascular health is something that is often overlooked by most individuals. In fact, this is probably one of the leading causes as to why complications of the cardiovascular system account for the highest percentage of death in America; according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
Improving your cardiovascular fitness can lead to a marked improvement in your quality and length of life. This section of our website is designed to provide tips, information, approaches, and routines designed to facilitate a healthy cardiovascular system.
By regularly exercising your cardiovascular system you will undoubtedly achieve an improved level of fitness, endurance, and mental well being. In addition, you will also improve your overall immune system which will allow you to ward off many of the debilitating diseases that afflict millions of individuals.
How the Cardiovascular System Works
There are three main components associated with the cardiovascular system: the heart, blood, and the blood vessels. Humans, along with most other vertebrates, have a closed cardiovascular system. This means that the blood never leaves the blood vessels and arteries, and is continually recycled.
There are three main forms of circulation throughout the cardiovascular system: pulmonary circulation, coronary circulation, and systemic circulation. Pulmonary circulation (the lungs) denotes the path that blood takes through the lungs in which the blood cells are infused with oxygen. Coronary circulation (the heart) refers to the movement of blood through the tissues of the heart.
The systemic circulation (the rest of the body) denotes the path that blood takes throughout the body to provide needed nutrients and oxygen to all of the cells in your body. Blood also travels through portions of the digestive system where it obtains needed nutrients and minerals.
The blood vessels (arteries, veins, and capillaries) are responsible for the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissue. Oxygen-rich blood enters the blood vessels through the heart's main artery, the aorta. The contraction of the heart's left ventricle forces the blood into the aorta which then branches into many smaller arteries and thereafter, is distributed throughout the body.
The inside layer of an artery is very smooth, allowing the blood to flow quickly, while the outside layer of an artery is very strong, allowing the blood to flow forcefully. The oxygen-rich blood then enters the capillaries where the oxygen and nutrients are released. The waste products are collected and the waste-rich blood flows into the veins in order to circulate back to the heart where pulmonary circulation will allow the exchange of gases in the lungs.
During systemic circulation, blood passes through the kidneys. This phase of systemic circulation is known as renal circulation. During the renal circulation phase, the kidneys filter much of the waste from the blood.
Blood also passes through the small intestine during systemic circulation. This phase is known as portal circulation. During this phase, the blood from the small intestine collects in the portal vein which passes through the liver.
The liver filters sugars from the blood, storing them for later. The average human body contains roughly six quarts of blood with obvious variations due to overall body size. This blood is composed of red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets.
Along with providing the cells of your body with oxygen and nutrients, the cardiovascular system is also responsible for producing homeostasis, namely by helping to maintain temperature and Ph levels. The existence of white blood cells also gives the cardiovascular system a key role in fighting infection and disease. By understanding the primary functions that the cardiovascular system is responsible for, it becomes readily apparent as to why it is so vitally important to maintain good cardiovascular health.
Common Cardiovascular Terminology
In order for each individual to get the most from this section of our website, it is a good idea to become familiar with some of the terminology that is commonly used when referencing the cardiovascular system. This will assist you to better comprehend, and thereafter, utilize the information being presented. There is a certain path that blood takes through the blood vessels. After leaving the heart the blood first travels through the arteries, then into the capillaries, and finally into the veins. The arteries are the largest of the blood vessels and the capillaries are the smallest of the blood vessels. The capillaries are where blood obtains most of its nutrients, metabolic waste, and gases.
Did You Know?
In order for the human body to adequately supply the necessary nutrients, oxygen, and disposal of waste by-products for the entire body, literally 100's of miles of blood vessels must exist. For instance, the average child has approximately 60,000 miles of blood vessels; while a typical adult has over 100,000 miles of blood vessels.
Blood pressure denotes the amount of force that is applied to the walls of the blood vessels. Blood acts in accordance to pressure gradients, or naturally moves, from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. A pulse is referred to as the rhythmic expansion of the arteries that is caused by the ejection of blood from the heart. The aorta is the main artery from which all others originate.
Our website is designed to provide you with a comprehensive breadth of information that defines and describes all aspects of maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. This includes proper exercise habits along with tips on how to modify your diet to promote even greater cardiovascular fitness.
There are also a number of different behavioral adjustments and modifications that can be used and made to help promote good cardiovascular fitness. This includes items such as reducing stress. The cardiovascular system is one of the most important systems found in the human body and maintaining and strengthening it will produce an abundance of beneficial health effects.
We hope that you will use this section of our website to become more knowledgeable and informed about the human cardiovascular system, and thereafter, utilize this information to improve your overall cardiovascular health.