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10: Cardiovascular System- Heart and Blood Vessels

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    This chapter provides a detailed description of the heart, blood vessels, and blood. It explains how they function together to transport substances throughout the body and maintain homeostasis. The chapter also describes several diseases of the cardiovascular system and lifestyle choices that can help prevent most of them.

    • 10.1: Case Study- Your Body's Transportation System
      Nineteen-year-old Antônio is on his first plane flight when his seatmate, 60-year-old Ahaya, begins pacing the aisles and doing leg and foot exercises at regular intervals. Ahaya explains that he has chronic heart failure, which, although well-managed, puts him at greater risk for certain complications of flying, like deep vein thrombosis (DVT). In this chapter, you will learn about the heart, blood vessels, and blood that make up the cardiovascular system, as well as its potential disorders.
    • 10.2: Introduction to the Cardiovascular System
      The cardiovascular system, also called the circulatory system, is the organ system that transports materials to and from all the cells of the body. The materials carried by the cardiovascular system include oxygen from the lungs, nutrients from the digestive system, hormones from glands of the endocrine system, and waste materials from cells throughout the body. Transport of these and many other materials is necessary to maintain homeostasis of the body.
    • 10.3: Heart
      The heart is a muscular organ behind the sternum (breastbone), slightly to the left of the center of the chest. A normal adult heart is about the size of a fist. The function of the heart is to pump blood through blood vessels of the cardiovascular system. The continuous flow of blood through the system is necessary to provide all the cells of the body with oxygen and nutrients and to remove their metabolic wastes.
    • 10.4: Cardiac Cycle and Electrical Activity
      Recall that cardiac muscle shares a few characteristics with both skeletal muscle and smooth muscle, but it has some unique properties of its own. Not the least of these exceptional properties is its ability to initiate an electrical potential at a fixed rate that spreads rapidly from cell to cell to trigger the contractile mechanism. This property is known as autorhythmicity. Neither smooth nor skeletal muscle can do this. Heart rate is modulated by the endocrine and nervous systems.
    • 10.5: Cardiac Cycle
      The period of time that begins with contraction of the atria and ends with ventricular relaxation is known as the cardiac cycle. The period of contraction that the heart undergoes while it pumps blood into circulation is called systole. The period of relaxation that occurs as the chambers fill with blood is called diastole. Both the atria and ventricles undergo systole and diastole, and it is essential that these components be carefully regulated and coordinated.
    • 10.6: Blood Vessels
      Blood vessels are the part of the cardiovascular system that transports blood throughout the human body. There are three major types of blood vessels. Besides veins, they include arteries and capillaries.
    • 10.7: Cardiovascular Disease
      Cardiovascular disease is a class of diseases that involve the cardiovascular system. They include diseases of the coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle with oxygen and nutrients; diseases of arteries such as the carotid artery that provide blood flow to the brain; and diseases of the peripheral arteries that carry blood throughout the body. Worldwide, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, causing about a third of all deaths each year.
    • 10.8: Case Study Conclusion- Flight and Chapter Summary
      At the beginning of this chapter, you learned about Antônio and Ahaya, who met while sitting next to each other on a plane. During the flight, Ahaya got up to take frequent walks and was doing leg exercises to try to avoid the medical condition DVT. DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg. It can be very dangerous—even deadly.

    Thumbnail: Flow of blood through the cardiac chambers. (Public Domain; Josinho8).

    This page titled 10: Cardiovascular System- Heart and Blood Vessels is shared under a CK-12 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Suzanne Wakim & Mandeep Grewal via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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