What is the Circulatory System? Its Functions and Diseases
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What is the Circulatory System? Its Functions and Diseases

When most people hear the term circulatory system, they immediately think of the heart. But in reality, the circulatory system is composed of many different parts which of course include the heart.

Functions of the Circulatory System

The main function of the circulatory system is transportation. With blood as its main transport vehicle, the system carries oxygen, nutrients, hormones, cellular wastes, and many other important substances all throughout the body. In order for the blood to move around the body, the system needs a beating heart.

The heart is anatomically located in the thorax. It is flanked laterally by the lungs and is enclosed in a pericardium. It functions as a double pump where the right heart serves as the pulmonary pimp and the left heart serves as the systemic pump. A good heart beat is often associated with normal heart sounds that can be heard as “lub-dub”.

But when the heart fails to pump normally, various circulatory diseases may occur.

Diseases of the Circulatory System

Some of the most common diseases of the circulatory system can be caused by inflammation, blockages, and increased pressure in the blood. Take for example these diseases mentioned below:


This condition refers to the inflammation of the pericardium which often causes the pericardial layers to bind and stick to each other forming painful adhesions that interferes with the normal movement of the heart.

Congestive Heart Failure

This condition usually refers to the progressive weakening of the heart due to clogging caused by fatty buildup, persistent high blood pressure or multiple myocardial infarcts.

Chronic Hypertension

This is a common and dangerous disease which usually progresses without symptoms for the first 10 to 20 years. It slowly damages the heart and strains the arteries which will eventually weaken the heart.


It is a condition where an artery wall thickens as a result of buildup of fatty materials such as cholesterol. It is usually caused by formation of multiple plaques within the artery walls.


It is a condition where there is an inadequate supply of blood to the heart muscles. It often leads to fibrillation which makes the heart totally incapable to pump causing a heart attack.

But these diseases and conditions can be prevented. Maintain a well-balanced diet, quit smoking, and do aerobic exercises regularly. Visit your cardiologist for a regular check-up and avoid eating foods that are rich in fat.


Elaine N. Marieb. Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology, 6th Ed. 

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Comments (1)

Very informative article