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The Circulatory System The circulatory system also known as the cardiovascular system is the combined function of the heart blood and blood vessels to carry oxygen as well as nutrients to organs and tissues all throughout the body and carry away waste products When the body is under stress such as exercise the circulatory system can increase blood flow to various organs and muscles to meet increased energy demands and help to regulate body temperature It also is involved with the immune system in fighting against an unknown or foreign substance that invades the body by swiftly sending the disease fighting elements such as white blood cells and antibodies to the area under attack Additionally in the case of injury or bleeding the circulatory system sends clotting cells and proteins to the affected area to stop blood loss The circulatory system has three structural elements the heart blood and blood vessels The circulatory systems engine is the heart which is divided into four chambers the right atrium the right ventricle the left atrium and left ventricle The walls of the heart are composed of muscle called myocardium This muscle contracts and relaxes continuously to pump blood Blood consists of three types of cells oxygen carrying red-blood cells disease-fighting white blood cells and blood-clotting platelets All of these cells are carried through the blood vessels in a yellowish liquid called plasma that contains of water salts proteins vitamins minerals hormones dissolved gases and fats There are three types of blood vessels that form a complex network of tubes throughout the body Arteries carry blood away from the heart veins carry blood toward the heart and capillaries are tiny links between the veins and arteries and are the place where oxygen and nutrients are diffused into the tissues There are many diseases and disorders associated with the circulatory system however the most common are Coronary Artery Disease and Stroke Coronary artery disease involves an obstruction
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