The Cardiovascular System Abstract

Atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis are some of the cardiovascular ailments that claim that highest numbers of lives in America today. Both are lipid disorders that present themselves in similar ways and can easily lead to heart attacks. Blood circulation is aided by blood vessels including veins and capillaries and the two types of vessels have fundamental differences in structure and roles. Blood circulates through either and open or a closed system but that latter has some advantages over the open circulatory system. The paper also presents the links between the cardiovascular system and the lymphatic system.
The Cardiovascular System
The heart pumps blood which carries oxygen and nutrients to different parts of the body. Its function is facilitated by blood vessels such as coronary arteries. In case of atherosclerosis, people have their arteries blocked by plague. Plagues grow gradually and result from damage to the arterial walls. Once an artery is damaged, white blood cells try to repair it but they may get stuck there and this is followed by the gradual accumulation of LDL cholesterol at the damaged spot. The grown plague blocks blood flow to the heart or out of the heart thus interfering with the overall blood flow of the body. They result in heart attacks because they lead to the formation of clots through blood flow interruption and rupture (Eckardstein & Ahrens, 2005).
Eckardstein & Ahrens (2005) claim veins and capillaries play fundamental roles in blood circulation, but even so, there are fundamental differences between the two. All the veins, except the umbilical and the pulmonary, carry deoxygenated blood and direct it into the heart. On the other hand, capillaries carry both oxygenated and deoxygenated blood and distribute blood to all parts of the body at a micro level. Veins operate at the macro level of blood circulation. Veins mainly play the transportation role while capillaries play the distribution role. This is the case because capillaries connect arteries and veins and they facilitate the exchange of wastes, gases, hormones, nutrients and other blood components. Veins and capillaries are also different structurally because they former are bigger than the latter. Veins have several layers that make them up including the endothelium, the smooth muscle layer and the connective tissue layer. On the other hand, capillaries have one layer of cells constituting the endothelium.
There are two types of blood circulation systems and these are the open and closed systems. Animals with the open circulatory system include mollusks and anthropods. In this system of circulation, blood is not contained in blood distribution vessels in the body. Blood that is mixed with interstitial fluid is pumped into sinuses that distribute it to different internal organs. On the other hand, a closed circulatory system is characterized by blood vessels that distribute blood to different parts of the body. A closed circulatory system ensures that oxygenated and deoxygenated blood does not mix. Furthermore, blood does not mix with interstitial fluid. A closed system is also advantageous because animals with this system have higher metabolic rates considering there are capillaries within every 2 to 3 cells. They therefore have better supply of oxygen, nutrients and other beneficial components in blood. All parts of the body are adequately supplied with blood unlike an open system in which limited surfaces come into contact with blood.
In the process of blood circulation, some waste products are produced and lymph capillaries have these waste products seep into them. Some of the waste that goes through the lymph includes blood that may have dissipated to tissues of the muscles accidentally (Eckardstein & Ahrens, 2005). The cells of the lymph nodes ingest some of the excess fluid and debris such as red blood cells that are old and cancer cells. The remaining lymph travels to the right and the thoracic ducts which allow the lymph to remix with blood and circulate back to the heart.
The first relationship between the cardiovascular system and the lymphatic system lies in their waste removal processes. They eliminate body wastes including toxins, pathogens and red blood cells that are old. The two systems are also related by the vessels and capillaries that lay parallel to one another as one supplies body organs with blood and the other gets rid of wastes. They both ensure that the body is able to function optimally. The two systems are linked and work together to transport liquid substances and eliminate body wastes. The lymph used and needed by the body is provided by both systems in the course of working. Some of the blood plasma transformed into interstitial fluid is usually absorbed by lymphatic vessels and is transformed into lymph (Eckardstein & Ahrens, 2005).
Atherosclerosis is a lipid disorder that presents a lot of similarity with lymphatic obstruction. The former manifests itself as described earlier on but the latter refers to blockage in a lymphatic vessel according to Tapzyana (2009). In lymphatic obstruction, blockage of the vessels prevents proper drainage of fluid from body tissues. When fluid is blocked, the result may be lymphedema which refers to lymph fluid accumulation. Blockage of the lymphatic vessels results from several causes according to Tapzyana (2009) and these include injury, surgery, tumors skin infections and infections with parasites. Lymphedma is characterized by chronic arm or leg swelling and may be treated through drainage, compression or random motion exercise.
Eckardstein, A. & Ahrens, I. (2005). Atherosclerosis: Diet and Drugs. New York: Springer.
Maciejko, J. (2004). Atherosclerosis Risk Factors. New York: Amer, Assoc.
Tapzyana, T. (2009). Secrets of the Lymphatic System, the Fountain of Youth is Within Us. New York: Ancient Wisdom Press.