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Heart, Blood and Blood Vessels
Heart anatomyby Patrick J. Lynch on Flickr

The Circulatory System is responsible for transporting materials throughout the entire body. It transports nutrients, water, and oxygen to your billions of body cells and carries away wastes such as carbon dioxide that body cells produce. It is an amazing highway that travels through your entire body connecting all your body cells.

Parts of the Circulatory System

Circulatory System is divided into three major parts:

  1. The Heart
  2. The Blood
  3. The Blood Vessels

The Heart

  • Heart beats about 3 billion times during an average lifetime. It is a muscle about the size of your fist. 
  • The heart is located in the center of your chest slightly to the left. 
  • It's job is to pump blood throughout your body.
  • It is your job to keep your heart healthy and there are three main things you need to remember in order to keep your heart healthy.
    • Exercise on a regular basis
    • Eat Healthy
    • Don't Smoke!

The Blood

  • The blood is an amazing substance that is constantly flowing through our bodies.
  • Blood is pumped by your heart and it travels through thousands of miles of blood vessels right within your own body.
  • Blood carries nutrients, water, oxygen and waste products to and from your body cells.
  • A young person has about a gallon of blood. An adult has about 5 quarts.
  • Blood is made up of liquids, solids and small amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Blood Cells: Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells and Platelets are made by the bone marrow. Bone marrow is a soft tissue inside our bones that produces blood cells.

  1. Red Blood Cells: Responsible for carrying oxygen and carbon dioxide. 
    • They pick up oxygen in the lungs and transport it to all the body cells. 
    • After delivering the oxygen, they collect carbon dioxide(a waste gas produced as our cells are working) and transport it back to the lungs where it is removed from the body when we exhale(breath out). 
    • There are about 5,000,000 Red Blood Cells in one drop of blood.
  2. White Blood Cells(Germinators): Help the body fight off germs.
    • Attack and destroy germs when they enter the body. When you have an infection, your body will produce more White Blood Cells to help fight an infection. Sometimes our White Blood Cells need a little help and the Doctor will prescribe an antibiotic to help our White Blood Cells fight a large scale infection.
  3. Platelets: Blood cells that help stop bleeding. 
    • When we cut ourselves, we have cut a blood vessel and the blood leaks out. In order to plug up the holes from where the blood is leaking, the platelets start to stick to the opening of the damaged blood vessels. As the platelets stick to the opening of the damaged vessel, they attract more platelets, fiber and other blood cells to help form a plug to seal the broken blood vessel. When the platelet plug is completely formed, the wound stops bleeding. We call our platelet plugs scabs.
  4. Plasma: Liquid part of the blood.
    • Approximately half of your blood is made of plasma. The plasma carries the blood cells and other components throughout the body. Plasma is made in the liver.

The Blood Vessels: Three types of blood vessels:

  1. Arteries - Blood vessels that carry oxygen rich blood AWAY from the heart. 
  2. Capillaries - Thin blood vessels that connect arteries to veins. Food substances(nutrients), oxygen and wastes pass in and out of your blood through the capillary walls.
  3. Veins - Carry blood back to your heart.

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