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Red Blood Cell Super-Highway: Navigating the Cardiovascular System
Date£º[28/02/2018 7:27:47 PM]   All[257]Time

 

Blood heart circulation

You know that lub-dub sound your heart makes. You’ve felt the pulse in your wrist. It all indicates that your body is still running. But the blood coursing through your arteries and gently flowing in your veins didn’t get there by accident. Your blood, blood vessels, heart, and lungs, all work together to bring the oxygen you breathe to the rest of your body. This relationship is known as the cardiovascular system, and it works 24/7 to keep you moving.

Your cardiovascular system is remarkable. To fully appreciate how hard it works for you, brush up on some cardiovascular vocabulary.

  • Cardiovascular system: The sophisticated network of organs and blood vessels responsible for oxygenating and moving blood throughout your body. The cardiovascular system consists of the heart, lungs, and includes all blood vessels.
  • Heart: A four-chambered muscle located underneath the breastbone (sternum) of your rib cage. The heart pumps oxygen-rich blood out to the body and oxygen-poor blood to the lungs. Contraction of the heart muscle is often called a beat.
  • Heart rate: Also called the pulse. This is the frequency of complete heart-muscle contractions. It is usually measured in beats per minute. The average heart rate for a healthy adult is between 60 at rest and 100 beats per minute going about your day.
  • Lungs: a pair of organs that sit within your rib cage and occupy most of the left and right sides. Think of the lungs as very fine network of sacs that spread your blood out to increase its surface area. Increasing the surface area allows gases to diffuse in and out of the blood (carbon dioxide out and oxygen in).
  • Pulmonary: Referring to the lungs.
  • Systemic: Referring to the other organs of the body, including liver, intestines, brain, kidneys, etc.
  • Blood vessel: The tubes through which blood flows. There are two main types of blood vessels-arteries and veins. For most of your body, this means arteries carry oxygenated blood and veins carry oxygen-depleted blood. But in the vascular system connecting the heart and lungs, this convention is reversed.
  • Blood: The red, liquid substance pumped throughout the cardiovascular system. Blood is mostly water, and is responsible for delivering nutrients to your body. It also contains many types of cells: red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, serum and platelets.

Red blood cells (RBCs) carry oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of the body. White blood cells are mostly involved in your immune response. Plasma is the colorless fluid that contains the fatty components of blood. Serum is the amber-colored component of blood that contains most of the proteins of the blood. And platelets are half-moon shaped, cell-like structures that are responsible for blood clotting (usually after an injury to a blood vessel).

  • Blood pressure: The force of blood moving through the blood vessels, measured in mmHg (millimeters of Mercury). Clinically, blood pressure is reported as systolic pressure over diastolic pressure. Blood pressure is highest in arteries and lowest in veins.
  • Diastole: Related to expansion, relaxation, or dilation.
  • Systolic blood pressure: The pressure in your blood vessels when blood is actively moving through them after being force by the pumping of the heart. Normal systolic blood pressure is considered to be less than 120 mmHg.
  • Diastolic blood pressure: The pressure in your blood vessels between heart beats when blood is not flowing and your blood vessels and heart are at rest. Normal diastolic blood pressure is considered to be less than 80 mmHg.
  • Capillaries: The small, intermeshed networks of tiny blood vessels. Capillaries allow oxygen and other nutrients to diffuse out of blood and into cells, tissues, and organs. They also send oxygen and nutrient-poor blood back to the heart. These networks are the end of arteries and the beginning of veins.

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