The Cardiovascular System:
Heart,
Blood Vessels, and
Circulation
W
ater is delivered to your house through
pipes that originate from pumping sta-
tions many miles away. Within your house, the
water pipes branch out to provide water to
many different rooms (such as the bathroom,
kitchen, and laundry room). Water is deliv-
ered to you and your family members at your
faucet. The water can be used for a variety of
purposes (such as drinking, food preparation,
and cleaning you and your belongings). Then
waste water flows through sewer pipes to the
waste-water treatment plant (typically far from
your home) for processing.
Your cardiovascular system is much like
this plumbing system. Blood is pumped by the
heart (the “pumping station”) through arteries
(the “pipes”) to your tissues (your “house”).
Within the tissues, the blood is dispersed,
using arterioles, to all of the cells (“your fam-
ily”). Materials are delivered to the individual
cells through an exchange atthe capillaries
(your “sink”). Blood is then moved back to
the heart through the venules and veins (the
“sewer pipes”), eventually being directed to
various places (such as the lungs, liver, and
kidneys—the “waste-water treatment plants”)
for disposal of the wastes that are being car-
ried in the blood. Ensuring proper delivery and
removal of blood from the tissues and ensur-
ing that blood travels to all areas of the body
are essential for survival.
Let’s look at how this amazing pumping
system works.
Aerial view of downtown New Orleans flooded
after Hurricane Katrina Aug. 31, 2005
308
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