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A trip through the human body - I

Posted Sep 28 2010 12:00am
Exploring the Human Body

How much do you know about the workings of your body? The human body is endlessly fascinating, and a bit mysterious. But if it's been a while since your high school biology class, don't worry. We'll explore the systems of the body and find out how they all work together to make us tick. You'll be learning about the circulatory system, immune system, endocrine system, urinary system, digestive system, nervous system, respiratory system, and lymphatic system. Let us find out how they work - and what can go wrong when a system malfunctions.

Our first topic is the Circulatory System


Circulatory System

At the center of the human body — and your circulatory system in particular — is the heart, the fist-sized pump that pushes blood to all of your other body systems.

What the circulatory system does The function of the circulatory system is to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your body and remove carbon dioxide and waste products through a system of veins, arteries, and smaller blood vessels.

There are 20 major arteries, including the carotid arteries (in the neck), the axillary artery (in the arm), femoral artery (in the thigh), and the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart.

Major veins include the external and internal jugular veins, which bring blood from the brain back to the heart, and the subclavian veins that run down each side of the body.

Oxygenated blood is carried out to your body through blood vessels that decrease in size from arteries to arterioles to capillaries. Once the oxygen is used up, the blood returns to the heart through venules (small blood vessels) and veins. All together, these blood vessels extend for 60,000 miles inside your body.

Circulatory System Conditions

Diseases of the heart and circulatory system cause nearly one out of every three deaths in United States. The four most common problems that can occur in your circulatory system are
  • Heart disease (which includes coronary artery disease and heart attack) - Heart disease can result in a heart attack if your heart is not getting enough blood.
  • Heart failure  - occurs when your heart becomes too weak to pump blood effectively.
  • High blood pressure - is too much pressure inside your arteries, which can result in kidney failure or other heart health issues.
  • Stroke - is brain damage that occurs if an artery in your brain gets blocked, causing decreased flow.

 Continued in part 2
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