Circulatory System Facts, Function Diseases

Circulatory System: Facts, Function & Diseases

Circulatory System Facts, Function DiseasesThe circulatory system is a vast network of organs and vessels that is responsible for the flow of blood, nutrients, hormones, oxygen and other gases to and from cells. Without the circulatory system, the body would not be able to fight disease or maintain a stable internal environment — such as proper temperature and pH — known as homeostasis.

The circulatory system is a vast network of organs and vessels that is responsible for the flow of blood, nutrients, hormones, oxygen and other gases to and from cells. Without the circulatory system, the body would not be able to fight disease or maintain a stable internal environment — such as proper temperature and pH — known as homeostasis.

Description of the circulatory system

While many view the circulatory system, also known as the cardiovascular system, as simply a highway for blood, it is made up of three independent systems that work together: the heart (cardiovascular); lungs (pulmonary); and arteries, veins, coronary and portal vessels (systemic), according to the US national Library of Medicine. (NLM).

In the average human, about 2,000 gallons (7,572 liters) of blood travel daily through about 60,000 miles (96,560 kilometers) of blood vessels, according to the Arkansas Heart Hospital        .  An average adult has 5 to 6 quarts (4.7 to 5.6 liters) of blood, which is made up of plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. In addition to blood, the circulatory system moves lymph, which is a clear fluid that helps rid the body of unwanted material.

The heart, blood, and blood vessels make up the cardiovascular component of the circulatory system. It includes the pulmonary circulation, a “loop” through the lungs where blood is oxygenated. It also incorporates the systemic circulation, which runs through the rest of the body to provide oxygenated blood, according to NLM.

The pulmonary circulatory system sends oxygen-depleted blood away from the heart through the pulmonary artery to the lungs and returns oxygenated blood to the heart through the pulmonary veins, according to the  Mayo clinic.

Oxygen-deprived blood enters the right atrium of the heart and flows through the tricuspid valve (right atrioventricular valve) into the right ventricle. From there it is pumped through the pulmonary semilunar valve into the pulmonary artery on its way to the lungs. When it gets to the lungs, carbon dioxide is released from the blood and oxygen is absorbed. The pulmonary vein sends the oxygen-rich blood back to the heart, according to NLM.

The systemic circulation is the portion of the circulatory system is the network of veins, arteries and blood vessels that transports blood from heart, services the body’s cells and then re-enters the heart, the Mayo Clinic noted.

Credit: Ross Toro, Livescience contributor

Diseases of the circulatory system

According to the American Heart association, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Because of its vastness and critical nature, it is one of the systems of the body most prone to disease.

One of the most common diseases of the circulatory system is arteriosclerosis, in which the fatty deposits in the arteries causes the walls to stiffen and thicken the walls. For example, 2.6 million people in the UK suffer from narrowing of the heart arteries. According to the Mayo Clinic, the causes are a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other material in the artery walls. This can restrict blood flow or in severe cases stop it all together, resulting in a heart attack or stroke.

Stroke involves blockage of the blood vessels to the brain and is another major condition of the circulatory system, according to Mitchell Weinberg of the North Shore-LU Health system.  “Risk factors include smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol,” he noted.

Another circulatory disease, hypertension — commonly called high blood pressure — causes the heart to work harder and can lead to such complications as a heart attack, a stroke, or kidney failure, the NLM noted. Around 75 million American adults, or one in every three adults, have high blood pressure, according to the Centers for disease control and Prevention.

An aortic aneurysm occurs when the aorta is damaged and starts to bulge or eventually tear, which can cause severe internal bleeding. This weakness can be present at birth or the result of atherosclerosis, obesity, high blood pressure or a combination of these conditions, according to Weinberg.

Peripheral arterial disease (also known as PAD) typically involves areas of narrowing or blockage within an artery, according to  Jay Radhakrishnan , an interventional radiologist in Houston, Texas. In addition, chronic venous insufficiency (also known as CVI) involves areas reflux (or backward flow) within the superficial veins of the lower extremities.

PAD is diagnosed with noninvasive testing including ultrasound, CT scan and/or MRI. Ultrasound is the least expensive of these methods, but also gives the least amount of detail, as CT and MRI show a much higher degree of anatomic detail when identifying areas of narrowing/blockage within an artery. CVI is diagnosed with ultrasound as the venous reflux can be measured accurately by ultrasound, which ultimately guides treatment.


Cardiovascular Disease & Polyphenols

Dark-Choclolate-Cardio-vascular-disease-and-PolyphenolsAstoundingly, even small amounts of dark chocolate polyphenols, 30 mg a day or the amount found in a quarter bar of premium dark chocolate, may protect against high blood pressure, according to an 18-week study published this year in JAMA, the flagship publication of the American Medical Association.8 In individuals with mildly elevated blood pressure (130/85 to 139/89 mmHg), those receiving dark chocolate had a small decrease in average blood pressure, by 2.9 mmHg systolic and 1.9 mmHg diastolic. The percentage of this group classified as hypertensive also decreased from 86% to 68%. The group receiving white chocolate had no significant changes.

Although these blood pressure changes may seem small, they could translate to lower rates of stroke and heart attack and improved survival. When the investigators pooled information from their own and other published studies, they found compelling evidence that cocoa helped lower blood pressure.9 Some studies showed a dose-response effect, with greater improvements accompanying intake of larger amounts of dark chocolate polyphenols.9,10

In a Japanese study, individuals with high cholesterol had improvements in beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which protects against cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis, as well as reduction in detrimental LDL when consuming a cocoa drink daily for four weeks.

The most important thing is eat it in moderation and with a very healthy diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, berries  and omega 3s. berries are most important because most of them especially the red and purple varieties are rich in polyphenols.

Facts About The Cardiovascular System

Facts About The Cardiovascular System

Introduction Facts About The Cardiovascular System

Facts About The Cardiovascular SystemThe cardiovascular system includes the heart, blood vessels and blood, and is vital for fighting diseases and maintaining homeostasis (proper temperature and pH balance). The system’s main function is to transport blood, nutrients, gases and hormones to and from the cells throughout the body.

Here are 11 fun, interesting and perhaps surprising facts about the circulatory system that you may not know

The circulatory system is extremely long

If you were to lay out all of the arteries, capillaries and veins in one adult, end-to-end, they would stretch about 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers). What’s more, the capillaries, which are the smallest of the blood vessels, would make up about 80 percent of this length.

By comparison, the circumference of the Earth is about 25,000 miles (40,000 km). That means a person’s blood vessels could wrap around the planet approximately 2.5 times!

Red blood cells must squeeze through blood vessels

Capillaries are tiny, averaging about 8 microns (1/3000 inch) in diameter, or about a tenth of the diameter of a human hair. Red blood cells are about the same size as the capillaries through which they travel, so these cells must move in single-file lines.

Some capillaries, however, are slightly smaller in diameter than blood cells, forcing the cells to distort their shapes to press through.

Big bodies have slower heart rates

Across the animal kingdom, heart rate is inversely related to body size: In general, the bigger the animal, the slower its resting heart rate.

An adult human has an average resting heart rate of about 75 beats per minute, the same rate as an adult sheep.

But a blue whale’s heart is about the size of a compact car, and only beats five times per minute. A shrew, on the other hand, has a heart rate of about 1,000 beats per minute.

The heart needs not a body

In a particularly memorable scene in the 1984 film, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” a man rips out another man’s still-beating heart. While easily removing a person’s heart with your bare hand is the stuff of science fiction, the heart actually can still beat after being removed from the body.

This eerie pulsing occurs because the heart generates its own electrical impulses, which cause it to beat. As long as the heart continues to receive oxygen, it will keep going, even if separated from the rest of the body.

People have studied the circulatory system for thousands of years

The earliest known writings on the circulatory system appear in the Ebers Papyrus, an Egyptian medical document dating to the 16th century B.C. The papyrus is believed to describe a physiological connection between the heart and the arteries, stating that after a person breathes air into the lungs, the air enters the heart and then flows into the arteries. (The work makes no mention of the role of red blood cells.)

Interestingly, the ancient Egyptians  were cardiocentric — they believed the heart, rather than the brain, was the source of emotions, wisdom and memory, among other things. In fact, during the mummification process, Egyptians carefully removed and stored the heart and other organs, but ripped out the brain through the nose and discarded it.

Physicians followed an incorrect model of the circulatory system for 1500 years

In the 2nd century, the Greek physician and philosopher Galen of Pergamon came up with a believable model for the circulatory system. He rightly recognized that the system involves venous (dark red) and arterial (bright red) blood, and that the two types have different functions.

However, he also proposed that the circulatory system consists of two one-way systems of blood distribution (rather than a single, unified system), and that the liver produces venous blood that the body consumes. He also thought the heart was a sucking organ, rather than a pumping one.

Galen’s theory reigned in Western medicine until the 1600s, when English physician William Henry correctly described blood circulation.

Red blood cells are special

Unlike most other cells in the body, red blood cells have no nuclei. Lacking this large internal structure, each red blood cell has more room to carry the oxygen the body needs. But without a nucleus, the cells cannot divide or synthesize new cellular components.

After circulating within the body for about 120 days, a red blood cell will die from ageing or damage. But don’t worry — your bone marrow constantly manufactures new red blood cells to replace those that perish.

Self-experimentation led to circulatory breakthroughs

Cardiac catheterization is a common medical procedure used today and involves inserting a catheter (a long, thin tube) into a patient’s blood vessel and threading it to the heart. Doctors can use the technique to perform a number of diagnostic tests on the heart, including measuring oxygen levels in different parts of the organ and checking the blood flow in coronary arteries.

German physician Dr. Werner Forssmann invented the procedure in 1929 — when he performed it on himself.

He convinced a nurse to assist him, but she insisted that he conduct the procedure on her instead. He pretended to agree, and told her to lie on an operating table, where he secured her legs and hands. Then, without her knowledge, he anaesthetized his own left arm. He then pretended to prepare the nurse’s arm for the procedure, until the drug took affect and he was able to insert the catheter into his arm.

Insertion complete (and nurse dismayed), the pair then walked to the X-ray room on the floor below, where Forssmann used a fluoroscope to help guide the catheter 60 centimeters (24 inches) into his heart.

Human blood comes in different colors — but not blue

The oxygen-rich blood that flows through your arteries and capillaries is bright red. After giving up its oxygen to your bodily tissues, your blood becomes dark red as it races back to your heart through your veins.

Although veins may sometimes look blue through your skin,  it is not because your blood is blue. The deceptive color of your veins results from the way different wavelengths of light penetrate your skin, are absorbed and reflect back to your eyes — that is, only high-energy (blue) light can make it all the way to your veins and back.

But that’s not to say blood is never blue. The blood of most mollusks and some arthropods lacks the hemoglobin that gives human blood its redness, and instead contains the protein hemocyanin. This makes these animals’ blood turn dark blue when oxygenated.

Living in space affects the circulatory system

Here on Earth, a person’s blood tends to pool in the legs because of gravity (the leg veins have valves that help to maintain blood flow from the legs back up to the heart).

Things are different in space. Blood instead pools in the chest and head (a phenomenon called fluid shift), causing astronauts to have stuffy noses, headaches and puffy faces. This fluid shift also causes the heart to enlarge so it can handle the increased blood flow in the area surrounding the organ.

Even though the body has the same amount of fluid as before, the brain and other body systems interpret the fluid shift as a sudden increase in overall fluid. In response, the body uses several different processes to get rid of excess fluid, resulting in an overall reduction in circulating blood volume.

Powerful Polyphenols

Powerful Polyphenols

Berries Powerful-polyphenolsAs with all antioxidants, a polyphenol deficiency can lead to excess oxidative stress, which causes cellular ageing. In the long term, this increases the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer.

Recent compelling evidence reveals that a powerful way to protect ageing arteries is to consume more plant polyphenols.

Published studies show how polyphenol compounds help improve endothelial function, which is a critical factor in preventing atherosclerosis. Polyphenols have also been shown to inhibit the abnormal platelet aggregation that cause most sudden heart attacks and strokes, while fighting inflammation and supporting healthy blood lipids.

Throughout history, wellness enthusiasts have celebrated the medicinal potential of plants, looking to these botanical allies to promote vitality and restore good health. Modern science has borne out these theories, showing that edible plants are to be valued not only for their high vitamin and fibre content but also for their rich store of polyphenols—antioxidant compounds that give plants some of their colour, flavour, and healing qualities. Polyphenols are found in fruits and vegetables such as the blueberry. A number of studies show that consuming polyphenols from a variety of sources may be more beneficial to your health than limiting ourselves to plants foods typically found in the Western diet.

A recent study on a trial anti-inflammatory drug, canakinumab, reported a 15% increase in protection against recurring heart attach or other cardiovascular related illnesses.  It was said that it could be the biggest breakthrough since statins! However some scientists are questioning its efficacy and get this – in the trial it showed an increased risk in potentially fatal infections! So not so great maybe. I certainly will not be rushing to give it a try, Just compare this risk to the beginning of this blog. If we eat food containing POLYPHENOLs they will give us a 30% increase in protection against cardiovascular disease. So once again Hypocrites was right we should let food by our medicine and medicine be our food. We all need these amazing polyphenols more than ever, and we need to have the whole variety to get the best protection. Frozen berries are great for the dark colours but the best way to get top protection is to take a whole food supplement with a great variety as a foundation and to bridge the gap in what we do actually  eat every day.

Once Again Juice Plus+ capsules come out top? How do we know because Juice Plus+ Vegan capsules have been tested and they contain over 600mgs of polyphenols.  There are more in the berry blend but several studies have shown that the polyphenols found in white fruits and veg help increase the power and the benefits of the polyphenols from berries.   The more science reveals and the more we understand about nutrition and health. At each new set of information we get confirmation that variety is the key. we need thousands of minute amounts of nutrients not  large amounts of a few. This is why Juice Plus+ comes out on top and is a  powerful tool to help us attain and sustain great health

What Are High Triglyceride Levels?

Trigliceride Levels

Do you have high triglyceride levels? If you do, you’re hardly alone. Overall, more than a third of adults in the U.S. have high triglyceride levels, a type of fat in the blood.

Although it’s a common problem, many of us don’t know the first thing about high triglyceride . Studies have consistently linked high triglycerides levels with heart disease, heart attacks and stroke, especially in people with low levels of “good” HDL Cholesterol and in those with  Type II Diabetes.

The good news is that there’s a lot you can do on your own to lower triglycerides and improve health.

First, find out if your triglycerides are high. Then, find out what to do about it.

Know Your Triglyceride Numbers

Here are the levels, based on a  fasting blood test.

  • Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL
  • Borderline: 150 to 199 mg/dL
  • High: 200 to 499 mg/dL
  • Very High: 500 mg/dL or above

When your triglyceride levels are too high, you may not have symptoms. It’s a “silent” problem with big implications, such as a four-fold increase in the likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke.

A simple blood test is all it takes to check your  triglyceride levels. If they’re too high, you can get them back under control, often by changing your daily habits.

If you already know that your triglyceride levels are too high, the actions you take now might even save your life.

Triglycerides and Blood Sugar

Having high triglycerides could be a sign that you’re becoming insulin-resistant, which means your body isn’t using insulin  (a hormone that controls blood sugar properly.)

When insulin doesn’t do its job, glucose can’t get into your cells. That raises your sugar levels, which can lead to pre-diabetes and, eventually, type 2 diabetes.

7 Reasons Why You Need to Eat More Good Fat

7 Reasons Why You Need to Eat More Good Fat

Fat-free, no-fat, and low-fat lies have ruled how we’ve eaten, or tried to eat, for decades. But I’m here to let you know it’s all hogwash! The truth of the matter is, I can think of at least 7 reasons why we need to eat fat! And by fat, I mean the healthy kind, from sources such as avocado, olive oil and fish. Not all fat is created equally.

Here is why you need to increase your daily intake of good fat:

1 – Maintain insulin levels

You need insulin to turn the sugars and proteins you eat into energy in your muscle cells, but if sugars and/or proteins are overeaten, insulin converts these calories into fat. On the other hand, insulin is not used to convert dietary fat into energy … nor will that fat get stored as fat. So, a diet high in good fat can promote weight loss by helping maintain healthy insulin levels.

2 – Help with weight loss

Some dietary fats have been shown to promote more weight loss than low fat diets with equal calorie consumption. For example, medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil or liquid coconut oil – and extra virgin olive oil have produced these results.

MCT oil is a saturated fatty acid that not only helps support cognitive function, but also has numerous health benefits, not the least of which is helping with weight management.

And a recent study took places over the course of five years – where people used a litre of olive oil per week versus a low fat diet and they lost weight!1 Additionally, they also had better memory. The monounsaturated fats in avocados and avocado oils react in the same way as olive oil. Studies also show adding just one avocado a day to the diet results in weight loss. Other studies have shown that coconut oil is even better than coconut oil and has been shown to actually increase your HDL cholesterol which is the good cholesterol that helps us stay healthy.

3 – Glowing skin

Now, the type of fats make all the difference when it comes to glowing skin. Turns out, cell membranes are all composed of fat molecules that have varying degrees of flexibility. Omega 3 fats can be found in –

  • Fish oil
  • Flax seed oil
  • Perilla oil

All of the fats listed above contribute to membrane flexibility – and that means flexible blood vessels and healthier looking skin. I’ve previously published the results of high dose fish oil in restoring flexibility in previously stiff blood vessels in patients. Even olive oil, composed primarily of the monounsaturated fat oleum, acts to promote glowing skin due to its high polyphenol contents.3

4 – Help prevent Inflammation

Short chain saturated fats – like the fat contained in Ghee (butyric acid) and fish oil – have been shown to nourish the cells lining the gut. This helps prevent the inflammation that causes weight gain. Plus it may also  influence depression and mental illness since these is now thought to be a correlation between the level of inflammation and mental health.

5 – Help reduce lectin intake

Replacing sugars from grains and beans with good fats eliminates the plant proteins known as lectins (gluten is one such lectin), which I and others have shown are a major cause of weight gain, obesity, and acne. Moreover, grains have Omega 6 fats, which when   taken in high quantities can promote inflammation of skin and the brain (brain fog).

Also removing lectins from your diet and replacing them with good fats prevents the damage they do to the gut wall; a fact that also is reflected in your glowing outer skin!

6 – Feel full faster and longer

What makes us feel full? It’s fat – Not carbs – Not protein. Fat promotes satiety or the sense of feeling full. You see, fat turns on hormone messaging and sends them from the gut to the brain. These messages strongly communicate calorie intake is sufficient, and you can stop eating.

7 – Healthier brains

The brain is approximately 60% fat. Truly, it is! Half of that fat is composed of DHA, a primary component of fish oil.5 Another significant source of fat in the brain is arachidonic acid.6 And guess what the the largest available source of arachidonic acid is  Egg yolk!

Eat the yolk, and toss out the whites if you want glowing hair, luminous skin, and a, healthier brain! Indeed, human studies show people with the highest Omega 3 index – a measure of Omega 3 ingestion for two months on average – have the biggest brain size, hippocampus size (the memory centre), and best memory. Folks with the highest Omega 3 index also have the lowest levels of depression and anxiety – especially compared to people with the low levels of Omega 3s.

So, for big, happy brains, glowing skin, healthy weight maintenance, and a healthy gut … bring on the fat! Fill up on fish oil, olive oil and egg yolks – your body will thank you.  Arachidonic acid is both a product of the body’s natural linoleic acid conversion and, as the question notes, an existing (but modest) component of animal-based foods like egg yolk and meat – as well as human breastmilk.  However, if like the rest of us you struggle to get enough of theses good fats into your week there is a vegetarian/ vegan Omega blend that has great amounts of omega 3,5,6,7 7 9. for more information go to