The circulatory system is called the cardiovascular system.
It contains around 5 litres or 8 pints of blood, which our heart is continuously recirculating. Each day our heart beats around 100,000 times and pumps about 23,000 litres (5,000 gallons) of blood. It is the size of a clenched fist and weighs approximately 10.5 ounces and it contracts and releases around 70 times a minute. www.bhf.org.uk/ For your heart to beat regularly it needs an electrical supply this provided by a special group of heart cells called the sinus node which is known as your hearts natural pace maker. www.bhf.org.uk/ The circulatory system consists of two circuits that blood travels through, the pulmonary and the systemic. Exercise effects these systems, when we exercise it causes the heart to pump faster around the body so that we can exercise for longer periods. The heart is made up of four chambers the atria, which are the two upper chambers of the heart and the ventricles the lower two chambers of the heart. The heart wall consists of the epicardium which makes up the outer layer of the wall of the heart. The myocardium makes up the middle layer of the wall of the heart and the endocardium which makes up the inner layer of the heart. Oxygenated blood travels into the heart via the pulmonary artery and enters the left atrium which is one of four chambers in the heart . There are two stages of the cardiac cycle, the diastole phase and the systole phase. During the diastole phase the muscles of the atria and the ventricles are relaxed. Blood then flows into the right and left atria, the valves located between the atria and the ventricles open allowing the blood to flow through to the ventricles • • • • Atrioventricular valves open The sinoatrial node which starts cardiac conduction opens causing atrial contraction The atria empty blood into the ventricles Semilunar valves close preventing flow back
During systole phase the ventricles contract pumping blood into the arteries. The right ventricle sends blood to the lungs through the pulmonary artery. The left ventricle pumps blood to the aorta. • • • The ventricles contract Atroventricular valves close and semilunar valves open Blood flows to either pulmonary artery or the aorta
The sound that we can hear and know as the heart beat is the sound of the closing of the heart valves. The main function of the heart is to pump blood around the body. Your heart never rests, it starts to beat before we are born and continues to beat throughout our lives. The function of the blood is to provide a fluid environment for cells. It is also where many materials are carried to and from the cells. Blood also has a number of functions
such as regulation, distribution and protection. Blood can help the body’s temperature by absorbing and distributing heat, transport nutrients from the intestines to the liver and also the body cells, waste products are also taken from tissues to the kidneys. (Adams, Barker, Gledhill, Lydon, Mulligan, Phillippo, Sutton (2010).) Oxygenated blood from the lungs travels through large vessels called the pulmonary veins and enters the left side of the heart emptying blood directly into the left atrium. The pulmonary vein is unusual in that it carries oxygenated blood all other veins carry deoxygenated blood. Blood flows from the left atrium through a one-way valve called the bicuspid valve into the left ventricle. Most of this flow occurs when the heart is relaxed, the atrium then contracts filling the ventricle with blood. The ventricle then contracts forcing the blood to exit through the large artery called the aorta, the artrioventricular valve closes and prevents the back flow of blood back to the atrium. ( Parker 1996) The aorta is closed off from the left ventricle by a one-way valve, the aorti7yc semi lunar valve, it allows the flow of blood out from the ventricle but then it snaps shut to prevent back flow of blood. The heart is connected to an intricate network of blood vessels, these hollow tubes transport blood throughout the whole of our body, the major ones relating to the heart are the: Arteries • the aorta is the largest artery in the body and most of the major arteries branch of from it • • • • • • Veins • • • • brachiocephalic veins join to form the superior vena cava common iliac veins join to form the inferior vena cava pulmonary veins transport oxygenated blood from the lungs to the heart venae cavae transport de-oxygenated blood around the body from the heart brachiocephalic artery carries oxygenated blood to the head and neck from the aorta carotid arteries supply oxygenated blood to the head and neck common iliac arteries carry oxygenated blood from the abdominal aorta to the legs and feet coronary aorta carries oxygenated and nutrient filled blood to the heart muscle pulmonary artery carries de-oxygenated blood from the right ventricle to the lungs subclavian arteries carry oxygenated blood to the arms
Blood passes from the right atrium into the right ventricle through a one-way valve called the tricuspid valve. Blood then passes out of the contracting right ventricle through a second valve called the pulmonary semi lunar valve into a single pulmonary artery, which branches off into the arteries that carry deoxygenated blood to the lungs. The blood then returns from the lungs to the left side of the heart replenished with oxygen. The pumping of the heart is a repeated cardiac cycle of relaxation and contraction of the atria and the ventricles. ( Parker 1996) When the body undertakes exercise the cardiovascular system will experience changes in the way it functions these include thermoregulation, vasodilation and vasoconstriction. Thermoregulation occurs when the body requires an increase of energy being used during exercise. Adjustments in the blood flow are made and as a result the cardiovascular system is affected due to it being the distribution and redistribution of heat within the human body. (Adams, Barker, Gledhill, Lydon, Mulligan, Phillippo, Sutton (2010)). Vasodilation occurs during exercise the vascular portion of active muscles will increase when the arterioles dilate. As a result an increase of the diameter of blood vessels will occur to decrease the amount of resistance to the flow of the blood in the specific area supplied via the vessels (Adams, Barker, Gledhill, Lydon, Mulligan, Phillippo, Sutton (2010)). Vasoconstriction is a function that can temporarily shut down the blood flow to the body tissues. This function decreases the diameter of the blood vessels and the resistance of the blood vessel is increased. (Adams, Barker, Gledhill, Lydon, Mulligan, Phillippo, Sutton (2010)). The heart valves are flap like structures that allow blood to flow in one direction only, the heart has four main valves, they are the: • • • Aortic valve which prevents the back flow of blood as it is pumped from the left ventricle to the aorta Mitral valve which stops the flow of blood back from the left atrium to the left ventricle Pulmonary valve which stops the flow of blood back as it is pumped from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery Tricuspid valve which prevents the back flow of blood as it is pumped from the right atrium to the right ventricle