Human Organ Systems – Circulatory System (Lungs, Heart, Blood, Blood Vessels)
The circulatory system is an organ system that passes nutrients (such as amino acids, electrolytes and lymph), gases, hormones, blood cells, etc. to and from cells in the body to help fight diseases and help stabilize body temperature and pH to maintain homeostasis.
This system may be seen strictly as a blood distribution network, but some consider the circulatory system as composed of the cardiovascular system, which distributes blood, and the lymphatic system, which distributes lymph. While humans, as well as other vertebrates, have a closed cardiovascular system (meaning that the blood never leaves the network of arteries, veins and capillaries), some invertebrate groups have an open cardiovascular system. The most primitive animal phyla lack circulatory systems. The lymphatic system, on the other hand, is an open system.
Two types of fluids move through the circulatory system: blood and lymph. The blood, heart, and blood vessels form the cardiovascular system. The lymph, lymph nodes, and lymph vessels form the lymphatic system. The cardiovascular system and the lymphatic system collectively make up the circulatory system.
The lung (adjectival form: pulmonary) is the essential respiration organ in many air-breathing animals, including most tetrapods, a few fish and a few snails. In mammals and the more complex life forms, the two lungs are located in the chest on either side of the heart. Their principal function is to transport oxygen from the atmosphere into the bloodstream, and to release carbon dioxide from the bloodstream into the atmosphere. This exchange of gases is accomplished in the mosaic of specialized cells that form millions of tiny, exceptionally thin-walled air sacs called alveoli.
To completely explain the anatomy of the lungs, it is necessary to discuss the passage of air through the mouth to the alveoli. Once air progresses through the mouth or nose, it travels through the oropharynx, nasopharynx, the larynx, the trachea, and a progressively subdividing system of bronchi and bronchioles until it finally reaches the alveoli where the gas exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen takes place.
The drawing and expulsion of air (ventilation) is driven by muscular action; in early tetrapods, air was driven into the lungs by the pharyngeal muscles via buccal pumping, whereas in reptiles, birds and mammals a more complicated musculoskeletal system is used.
Medical terms related to the lung often begin with pulmo-, from the Latin pulmonarius ("of the lungs"), or with pneumo- (from Greek πνεύμων "lung").
The heart is a myogenic muscular organ found in all animals with a circulatory system (including all vertebrates), that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions. The term cardiac (as in cardiology) means "related to the heart" and comes from the Greek καρδιά, kardia, for "heart".
The vertebrate heart is composed of cardiac muscle, which is an involuntary striated muscle tissue found only in this organ, and connective tissue. The average human heart, beating at 72 beats per minute, will beat approximately 2.5 billion times during an average 66 year lifespan, and weighs approximately 250 to 300 grams (9 to 11 oz) in females and 300 to 350 grams (11 to 12 oz) in males.
In invertebrates that possess a circulatory system, the heart is typically a tube or small sac and pumps fluid that contains water and nutrients such as proteins, fats, and sugars. In insects, the "heart" is often called the dorsal tube and insect "blood" is almost always not oxygenated since they usually respirate (breathe) directly from their body surfaces (internal and external) to air. However, the hearts of some other arthropods (including spiders and crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp) and some other animals pump haemolymph, which contains the copper-based protein haemocyanin as an oxygen transporter similar to the iron-based haemoglobin in red blood cells found in vertebrates.
Blood is a specialized bodily fluid that delivers necessary substances to the body's cells (in animals) – such as nutrients and oxygen – and transports waste products away from those same cells.
In vertebrates, it is composed of blood cells suspended in a liquid called blood plasma. Plasma, which constitutes 55% of blood fluid, is mostly water (92% by volume), and contains dissipated proteins, glucose, mineral ions, hormones, carbon dioxide (plasma being the main medium for excretory product transportation), platelets and blood cells themselves. The blood cells present in blood are mainly red blood cells (also called RBCs or erythrocytes) and white blood cells, including leukocytes and platelets. The most abundant cells in vertebrate blood are red blood cells. These contain haemoglobin, an iron-containing protein, which facilitates transportation of oxygen by reversibly binding to this respiratory gas and greatly increasing its solubility in blood. In contrast, carbon dioxide is almost entirely transported extracellularly dissolved in plasma as bicarbonate ion.
Vertebrate blood is bright red when its haemoglobin is oxygenated. Some animals, such as crustaceans and molluscs, use haemocyanin to carry oxygen, instead of haemoglobin. Insects and some molluscs use a fluid called haemolymph instead of blood, the difference being that haemolymph is not contained in a closed circulatory system. In most insects, this "blood" does not contain oxygen-carrying molecules such as haemoglobin because their bodies are small enough for their tracheal system to suffice for supplying oxygen.
Jawed vertebrates have an adaptive immune system, based largely on white blood cells. White blood cells help to resist infections and parasites. Platelets are important in the clotting of blood. Arthropods, using haemolymph, have haemocytes as part of their immune system.
Blood is circulated around the body through blood vessels by the pumping action of the heart. In animals with lungs, arterial blood carries oxygen from inhaled air to the tissues of the body, and venous blood carries carbon dioxide, a waste product of metabolism produced by cells, from the tissues to the lungs to be exhaled.
Medical terms related to blood often begin haemo- and haemato- from the Ancient Greek word haima for "blood". In terms of anatomy and histology, blood is considered a specialized form of connective tissue, given its origin in the bones and the presence of potential molecular fibres in the form of fibrinogen.
The blood vessels are the part of the circulatory system that transport blood throughout the body. There are three major types of blood vessels: the arteries, which carry the blood away from the heart; the capillaries, which enable the actual exchange of water and chemicals between the blood and the tissues; and the veins, which carry blood from the capillaries back toward the heart.
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