Overview of the cardiovascular system
The cardiovascular system (CVS) consists of the heart, three kinds of blood vessels (the arteries, the veins and the capillaries) and the blood that flows through this system.
In simplistic terms, the heart collects oxygenated blood from the lungs, pumps this blood through arteries and capillaries to every organ in the body and deposits this oxygen in these organs. The venous system then collects this deoxygenated blood and delivers it back to the heart where the process is repeated. This pumping system is made possible due to the presence of pressure differentials throughout the system produced by the contraction and relaxation of cardiovascular muscles. When the heart is contracted it pumps blood around the body - the process is referred to as systole. When the heart is relaxed the heart fills up with blood - a process known as diastole.
Here is a short video that explains how your heart pumps blood around your body. For more informational videos please visit our YouTube Channel.
What can go wrong with the cardiovascular system?
Because every organ in our body requires oxygen and nutrients to function, any breakdown in the operation of the cardiovascular system can have serious consequences on our health. The manifestation of this malfunction will depend on which organ is affected, with symptoms often developing on exertion when oxygen requirements are at their greatest. Both the brain and the heart are two organs that require significant supplies of oxygen; a breakdown in supply of oxygen to these two organs, therefore, can have serious consequences.