Learning About Circulatory System Health
The role of the circulatory system is twofold: it delivers oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body while picking up waste and toxic materials that need to be eliminated. It accomplishes this monumental task through a network of nearly 60,000 miles of blood vessels and a fist-sized organ, the heart, which pumps more than 2,000 gallons of blood through its chambers each day.
Transporting your life blood
blood vessels are divided into three main categories: arteries, veins, and capillaries. Arteries are thick-walled vessels that carry blood from the heart to all parts of the body. Each time a person's heart beats, the elastic walls of the arteries swell to make room for the blood that is forced into them. The muscles inside the walls contract slowly, in effect squeezing the blood and forcing it to move along the arteries toward the capillaries. If arteries lose their elasticity, known as arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, the heart has to work much harder to keep the blood circulating. Like a machine, if the heart is overworked and not properly maintained, it cannot function optimally.
The Lymphatic System
In addition to moving the blood along, the squeezing process forces fat globules, along with tiny protein particles, and other nutrients to go outside experienced to go outside of vessels walls. Once these things are out, due to their size, they cannot re-enter. Instead, they are collected along with other cellular debris lying between cells.
The lymphatic system picks up these partials and mixes them with plasma, which forms lymph. The lymph is then purified, recycled in the lymph nodes, and added back to the blood. This process, which is vital to the circulatory system, is also essential to the success of the immune system.
The Return Trip
Veins are thin-walled blood vessels. There purpose is to return the blood from the body to the heart. Many larger veins have values to prevent a back-flow of blood. If these values experience prolonged or excessive pressure, veins can become overstretched, and the values maybe destroyed or become impaired. This results in problems like varicose veins. Capillaries are the smallest blood vessels in the body. They serve as intermediaries, connecting arteries with veins. Since capillaries are extremely small and have permeable walls, it is possible for capillaries to reach nearly every cell in the body and to transfer substances. including important nutrients, to and from the tissues.
The heart is made up primary of muscles that facilitate its pumping action. This most vital of organs consists of four compartments or chambers. The upper two are referred to as the atria, and the lower two as ventricles. Oxygen-poor blood enters the right atrium and moves through it to the right ventricle. From there, blood is sent via the pulmonary arteries to the lungs so that it can pick up a fresh supply of oxygen. Once it has taken on a supply of oxygen, blood moves through the pulmonary veins, first to the left atrium and then to the left ventricle.
The heart beat is sustained by the sinoatrial (SA) node, which functions as a pacemaker. A healthy heart has a regular beat, although the rate can vary depending on serveral factors including age, sex, physical activity, and emotion.
For the circulatory system to function properly, the heart must be strong, the vessels capable of safely transporting optimal amounts of blood, and the blood itself must be healthy. Serious problems can arise when these conditions are not met. Each year approximately 25% of all deaths is the US occur from heart attacks, and the majority of these are attributable to hardening of the arteries. In addition to heart attacks, a poor circulatory system can lead to strokes, kidney disease, varicose veins, blood clots, and a variety of other conditions that can kill or severely limit enjoyment of life.
Three major factors that contribute to circulatory problems are hypertension (high blood pressure), high levels of triglycerides are cholesterol in the blood stream, and smoking. Nutrition has been linked directly to hypertension and high levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. Other factors include: obesity, heredity, and emotional stress. Unfortunately, the threat of problems increases significantly when more than one factor is present. That means that when a person has three risk factors, his or her chances for disease are 6 times greater that when only one is present.
How can you maintain a healthy circulatory system? Most experts agree that the keys are to avoid smoking, monitor your diet, exercise regularly, and manage stress.
Herbs for Circulatory Support: