Understanding the human circulatory system
Does it feel like you’re always on the move, on the go, and on the run, taking important things from one place to another to keep everything running smoothly? And, just when you think you’re all done, you have to do it all over again? Well, you’re basically doing the same thing as the human circulatory system. Just as all of your actions allow your life to function properly, your circulatory system’s long list of vital tasks allows your organs, muscles, and tissues to do the same. Examine the workings and wonders of the human circulatory system, then uncover how it functions to help you function at your best. Also, stay aware of diseases affecting the circulatory system, along with ways to reduce your risk. Because essentially, the circulatory system circulates everything you need to live, bringing it to the place it needs to be.
A look around the human circulatory system
The human circulatory system is a well-connected network made up of your heart, blood vessels, and blood. And just as its name suggests, the circulatory system is in charge of circulating blood throughout your body to keep your organs, tissues, muscles, and cells healthy and functioning properly. The circulatory system is also known as the cardiovascular system, so naturally, your heart is at the heart of it. The heart’s consistent pumping keeps the circulatory system flowing.
A functional guide to the circulatory system
The human circulatory system is a multi-tasking machine. As a result, the circulatory system helps you fight off disease, maintain a normal body temperature, and provides the ideal chemical balance for your body. All of this starts with your heart. See, your heart pumps blood to your lungs to give blood the oxygen that it needs. Then, your heart directs that oxygen-rich blood through your blood vessels, with your arteries carrying that blood away from your heart to your body’s organs, muscles, and tissues—before your veins bring that blood back to your heart to get more much-needed oxygen and start the process all over again. As your blood travels through your body, it not only delivers oxygen, but also nutrients, hormones, and antibodies, while simultaneously removing waste and carbon dioxide.
The spread of circulatory system diseases
Several different diseases can affect your heart and blood vessels, and ultimately, have a major effect on your circulatory system. These conditions can interrupt the circulation of blood, making it more difficult for blood to easily flow throughout your body. This is because each part of your circulatory system works closely together, so a problem with one part of the system can have an impact on the others, as well as your overall health. Circulatory system diseases can strike suddenly or can slowly progress over time. While there are several diseases that can potentially affect the circulatory system, the most common conditions include:
- Heart attack – This all-too-common condition, which can range from mild to massive, occurs when the blood supply is completely cut off from the heart.
- Atherosclerosis – This is the technical term for the hardening of the arteries caused by a buildup of plaque, which can lead to strokes and high blood pressure.
- Arrhythmias or dysrhythmias – These interchangeable terms describe abnormal heart rates and rhythms.
- Angina – A condition that arises when your heart isn’t getting enough blood, it causes crushing chest pain, along with shortness of breath, fatigue, and nausea.
- Stroke – This life-threatening condition occurs when one of the blood vessels leading to the brain suddenly bursts or becomes blocked by a blood clot, which prevents blood and oxygen from reaching the brain.
- Heart failure – It happens when your heart is not pumping blood as well as it should, often leading to fatigue and shortness of breath.
- Aneurysm – Affecting your body’s main artery, this occurs when the artery wall weakens and expands like a balloon, growing to the point that it can burst and cause dangerous internal bleeding.
- High blood pressure – Also known as hypertension, this can lead to several serious health conditions, such as stroke, heart disease, and heart failure.
- Cardiac ischemia – In this condition, your heart isn’t getting enough blood and oxygen to function properly, which can result in serious chest pain that feels just like a heart attack.
Get to the heart of reducing your risk
One of the easiest and best ways to prevent these problems is by seeing your SignatureMD-affiliated doctor on a regular basis. You may have symptoms or susceptibilities that you aren’t aware of, but annual checkups can help you catch concerns early before it becomes too late. You can also reduce your risk of developing circulatory system diseases by considering the following minor, yet meaningful, lifestyle changes:
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Add exercise and physical activity to your daily routine.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid smoking and any tobacco.
As you can see, the human circulatory system is a complex group of vital organs and blood vessels that all work together to keep your body working well.
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