The Circulatory System

The circulatory system consists of three main things, the heart, the vessels and the blood. The heart is the pump, the vessels are the tubes and the blood is the circulating fluid.

The real function and purpose of the Circulatory system is to keep us alive (of course working in conjunction with the other systems of the body). The Circulatory system carries food and oxygen to all the cells of the body and then in response to that removes all waste products.

The heart acts as a pump pushing blood around the body. It is the centre of the life system. The heart is essential for life...(derr!) So this is why you should look after it, always! Exercise, rest, eat healthily and drink plenty of water. Smoking, taking drugs, stress and poor eating habits can play havoc on your heart and if an unhealthy lifestyle is led, then this will have detrimental effects.

The heart is an organ which is situated slightly to the left of the centre of your chest. It is protected by your rib cage. Isn't the human body amazing!? In weight it is slightly less than half a kilo, a little lighter in females.

The right side of your heart receives "venous blood" (the impure blood) and pumps it to the lungs where it receives oxygen and then pumps the blood to the aorta to be distributed to the rest of your body.

From your heart there is an ever branching system of tubes: blood vessels. These are passages for blood to reach the rest of your body. Would you believe this transport system covers approximately 100,000 kilometres in the human body?!

There are two kinds of blood vessels; 1: arteries, these carry blood from the heart and 2: veins which carry blood back to the heart.

Blood is the medium the body requires to fill with vitamins and "good bits" to then carry to all parts of your body, like oxygen, nutrients and defence mechanisms to help the body fight off bacteria and disease.

There are red blood cells and white blood cells. Red cells are formed in the bone marrow and are important for the protein Haemoglobin, which carries oxygen.

White blood cells and platelets carry out the function of warding off infection and blood clotting.

The amount of blood in the human body is about five litres and is said to make up about 8% of the body weight.

This is just basic "beginners" information on the Circulatory system, for more specific or detailed information visit your local library or search the internet for the "Human Body".

When you exercise, your heart has to work even harder to push the blood through the body, through the vessels, and pumping oxygen around the body. As you exercise your body uses more and more oxygen to replenish itself, so as you can probably guess, exercising is great for your health and for your circulatory system.

Exercising will benefit your heart and your lungs and will help keep a healthy amount of oxygen flowing through your body.

- Michelle Palmer (michelle@girl.com.au)
 

 
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