The circulatory system, also known as the cardiovascular system, is the bodily system in humans that facilitates the flow of blood throughout the body, carrying nutrients, oxygen, water, and other elements. According to Kim Zimmerman at Live Science, about 2,000 gallons of blood travel about 60,000 miles of vessels every day throughout our body! There are three parts that comprise the circulatory system: the blood, heart, and blood vessels.
The blood is the reason our circulatory system exists. As described above, the blood is a nutrient in our body that provides the our cells with essential elements, critical for survival. Although blood appears as a simple red substance, it is made up of four parts: red blood cells, plasma, white blood cells, and platelets.
Making up the majority of our blood, red blood cells are responsible for providing the rest of our organs with oxygen. This is made possible through the oxygen-containing protein hemoglobin, which makes the blood change in color from blue to red, hence the term “Red Blood Cells.” Conversely, red blood cells also brings carbon dioxide to the lungs, which we then exhale.
Plasma is the means of transportation of our blood. A liquid substance, our plasma is responsible for the flow of our blood through our vessels. Without the plasma, our red blood cells would have no means of moving; thus we would be oxygen deprived, and eventually perish of carbon dioxide buildup.
White blood cells are the part of the blood that is responsible for fighting disease and virus in our body. For example, whenever we get a common cold or the flu, it is our white blood cells that isare responsible for combating these diseases. Antibiotics can assist white blood cells in fighting major infections.
Sometimes, we accidently cut ourselves, leaving us “bleeding.” This is where the platelets come in. Platelets are blood cells that stop blood loss, clogging the holes in the vessels where there is damage. When is wound in completely sewed up, the bleeding stops, and we see a platelet plug, —more commonly known as a scab.
Located at the center of the body comprised of many different parts, the heart is a muscular organ located responsible for pumping blood through the circulatory system. Moreover, this organ is essential for providing oxygen, the energy needed for our survival, to other parts of the body, through a process called systematic circulation. The heart is the hub that separates oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. An illustration of this can be seen below. The oxygenated blood is in red, and the deoxygenated blood is in blue. Our blood vessels are where our blood travels in order to deliver oxygen, and other vital substances to our cells.
Blood vessels are where our blood travels in order to get to other parts of the body. There are three types of blood vessels: arteries, capillaries, and veins. Arteries are the vessels carrying oxygen -rich blood away from the heart, and to other cells. Veins are the vessels that carry oxygen deprived, and carbon dioxide rich, blood to the heart. These two vessels are connected by capillaries, allowing for systematic circulation.
Improving Your Circulatory System
Obviously, the circulatory system is a very important bodily system, so it is essential we take steps to maximize its function. Moreover, the circulatory system is subject to a wide variety of cardiovascular diseases, most notably diabetes. As with other health concerns, proper diet and exercise are essential for improving the circulatory system. Proper nutrients from food, as well as the motion of physical movement, allow for better flow from the blood, providing you with better health!