The Human Circulatory System

This essay has a total of 1956 words and 11 pages.

The human circulatory system

The human circulatory is one of, if not the, most important system in the body. “It consists of such organs as the heart, and lungs” (Dunbar 4). “However every organ and organ system in the body is nourished and kept alive through the use of the circulatory system” (2-4). The main organ in the circulatory system is the heart. “Basically, the heart is a pump that keeps fresh blood coursing through your body, bringing oxygen and nutrients to all your organs and cells” (2). “A mathematical description of what the heart accomplishes is astonishing. Your heart keeps approximately ten pints (4.73 liters) of blood constantly circulating through seventy –five –thousand miles (one –hundred –thousand kilometers) of blood vessels” (2). Those thousands of miles of blood vessels reach every organ in your body. “Once they reach the organ they deliver much needed oxygen and take away carbon dioxide and other waste products that your body cannot use. This must be done without interruption if you are to remain healthy and alive” (2).

“Every living cell in your body depends on oxygen for life. Any cell deprived of oxygen for more than thirty minutes will die. The cells in your brain are even more dependent on fresh oxygen. If your brain cells are deprived of oxygen for only five seconds it will cause you to become unconscious. If your brain is deprived of oxygen for more than four minutes your brain will die” (2).

But where does all of this oxygen come from? , You may ask yourself. The lungs, I believe, are the second most important organs in the circulatory system. For one reason they are the only way for oxygen to be received into the body. It is in the lungs that cells absorb fresh oxygen, and where carbon dioxide is released to be expelled from the body. The transfer of these two gasses takes place in the alveoli in the lungs. “Alveoli are ‘small cavities’ or ‘air sacs in the lungs’” (Marieb G-2). “Blood entering the lungs through the pulmonary circulation is dark colored, low on oxygen, and high in carbon dioxide. The blood is pumped by the right side of the heart into the pulmonary arteries, which leads to the lungs. The pulmonary arteries divide into smaller and smaller blood vessels, which ending with pulmonary capillaries in the walls of the alveoli”(World Book L 528). These alveoli are the smallest of a series of cavities in the lungs.

“The lungs are designed to receive air, which enters the body through the mouth or the nose. The air passes through the pharynx and the larynx and enters the airways, beginning with the trachea and then into the two primary bronchi”(World Book L 527). “After the primary bronchi enter the lungs they subdivide into smaller and smaller branches, called secondary and tertiary bronchi. Finally ending in the smallest of the conducting passageways, the bronchioles. This branching and re-branching is often referred to as the bronchial tree. The bronchioles lead into the respiratory zone structures, even smaller conduits, which eventually terminate in alveoli” (Marieb 380). Unlike the heart, which is made entirely of muscle, the lungs have no muscles in them. “They are forced to expand and allowed to contract through movements of the ribs and the diaphragm. Like your heartbeat, the rhythmic motion of your lungs expanding and relaxing is a constant process. You can however control your breathing to a certain extent. For instance, if you feel like taking a deep breath you can do so instantly. But you cannot make your heart beat faster or slower on impulse.

You have the power to hold your breath, but only for a short time. If you hold your breath long enough you will fall into unconsciousness and then resume breathing automatically. The reason behind this is that the muscles that control your breathing are controlled by your body’s nervous system” (Dunbar 5). You see if your brain senses that it is not getting enough oxygen it will automatically force you to breath so that you can continue to live.

“William Harvey discovered that blood circulates throughout the body. He could not explain, however, the motion of the heart that makes circulation possible. As far as he was concerned, that could be ‘comprehended only by God’” (3). However, more than three –hundred years later we now have a vast knowledge of how the heart works.

“Each side of the heart performs a different pumping job. The right side takes blood from the body and pumps it to the lungs. The left side of
the heart collects blood from the lungs and pumps it to the body. Blood goes through the right side of the heart, to the lungs, and then to the left side of the heart where it is once again pumped through the body” (World Book H 139).

“Blood flows into the right atrium through two large veins, called the superior and the inferior vena cava’s” (139). The superior vena cava carries blood from the head and arms. The inferior vena cava carries blood from the trunk and legs.

“Blood from the body fills the right atrium. The right atrium then contracts, squeezing blood through the tricuspid valve into the ventricle. The tricuspid valve is made of three little triangular flaps of thin, strong fibrous tissue. The valve allows blood to flow into the ventricle but does not allow it to flow back out in the same direction. The ventricle is at first relaxed, but it contracts when it is filled with blood. The resulting pressure closes the tricuspid valve and opens the semilunar valve, which is between the ventricle and the pulmonary artery. Blood gushes through the semilunar valve and into the pulmonary artery, which leads to the lungs. The semilunar valve gets its name because its three flaps are in the shapes of a half moon” (139).

“Blood flows from the lungs back into the left side of the heart through the four pulmonary veins and into the left atrium. The left a

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