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Circulatory system diagram

Red veins and arteries deliver
oxygenated blood to cells.

Blue veins and arteries deliver
deoxygenated blood back to
the heart for replenishment.


Along its path of thousands of miles of veins and arteries through which 2,000 gallons of blood are pumped each day, the circulatory system is responsible for delivering oxygen, glucose, nutrients, water, vitamins and drugs — carried along a superhighway of blood vessels powered by the heart.

The circulatory system, by way of the blood that flows through it, is also responsible for collecting waste from organs, like the kidneys, for excretion.

In addition to regulating our internal temperature (by altering the flow of blood flow through the skin), the circulatory system also contains white blood cells which are at the front lines of fighting off bodily infection.

The circulatory system even has a role to play in sexual reproduction, since a major factor in penile erection is a strong and unimpeded flow of blood that allows the penis to expand during copulation.

Keeping your circulatory system humming

Most people already know how to maintain a healthy circulatory system, but here are some helpful reminders:

  • Quite possibly the most important thing we can all do to keep our circulatory system healthy is to eat properly. This means avoiding fatty meats and high cholesterol foods, high glycemic index carbohydrates, and sugar that acts to clog or constrict the arteries.

    Instead, opt for a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, low fat proteins, whole grains, (with a healthy dose of portion moderation) to keep blood pressure steady and the circulatory system in optimum condition.

  • One of things most of us need to be doing more of for the health of our circulatory systems is getting active. Any sort of exercise, whether it's walking the dog or scaling a mountain, can be beneficial, and it's recommended that everyone be at least moderately active every single day to keep the blood pumping.

  • While smoking is better known as a major threat to the lungs, it is also extremely damaging to the circulatory system and a major cause of serious heart disease.

More about the human circulatory system around the Web:

The Circulatory System - Comprehensive fact sheet explaining circulatory system structure and function with comparisons among human, bird and animal systems, related glossary of terms, diagrams and illustrations.

Heart and Circulatory System - Kid-friendly information and illustrations with related resource directory and suggested reading materials.


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