Cardiovascular Health


Maintaining Cardiovascular Health : This series of images illustrates diet and lifestyle changes that help maintain cardiovascular health, and which may actually help improve existing damage. From left to right: 1) A woman eats an apple, with visible cardiovascular system and digestive system. 2) Fresh vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, are high in fiber which helps keep blood lipid levels healthy. 3) Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are better for heart health than trans fats and saturated fats. Good sources include those shown: nuts, seeds, olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids like those found in salmon. 4) A woman takes a vigorous walk with muscles, skeletal bones and heart visible. Regular exercise in combination with a heart-healthy diet helps keep your heart and blood vessels in top condition.

The circulatory system, also called the cardiovascular system, is an organ system that permits blood to circulate and transport nutrients (such as amino acids and electrolytes), oxygen, carbon dioxide, hormones, and blood cells to and from cells in the body to nourish it and help to fight diseases, stabilize body temperature and pH, and to maintain homeostasis.

The circulatory system is often seen to be composed of both the cardiovascular system, which distributes blood, and the lymphatic system, which circulates lymph.These are two separate systems. The passage of lymph for example takes a lot longer than that of blood. Blood is a fluid consisting of plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets that is circulated by the heart through the vertebrate vascular system, carrying oxygen and nutrients to and waste materials away from all body tissues. Lymph is essentially recycled excess blood plasma after it has been filtered from the interstitial fluid (between cells) and returned to the lymphatic system. The cardiovascular (from Latin words meaning 'heart'-'vessel') system comprises the blood, heart, and blood vessels. The lymph, lymph nodes, and lymph vessels form the lymphatic system, which returns filtered blood plasma from the interstitial fluid (between cells) as lymph.

While humans, as well as other vertebrates, have a closed cardiovascular system (meaning that the blood never leaves the network of arteries, veins and capillaries), some invertebrate groups have an open cardiovascular system. The lymphatic system, on the other hand, is an open system providing an accessory route for excess interstitial fluid to get returned to the blood. The more primitive, diploblastic animal phyla lack circulatory systems.


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The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.