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Glossary of Terms

Circulatory System

A term used to describe the body's circulation of blood. The circulatory system is composed of the heart, the arteries, the veins and the lungs. A simplified description of the circulation of blood is as follows: All of the body's organs require oxygen and nutrients which are delivered by the blood. The body's blood is circulated and pumped by the heart and the blood is transported in the arteries and veins of the body. The lungs add Oxygen and remove the CO2 from the blood. The circulatory system is a continuous cycle of blood being returned to the heart, the CO2 being removed, Oxygen added and then being pumped out again. The circulation of blood is as follows: The blood, after being "used" by the body's organs, returns to the right atrium of the heart via the veins of the body. As the "used" blood enters the right atrium, it flows and is pumped into the right ventricle. The right ventricle then pumps the blood to the lungs, where the lungs remove the CO2 and add Oxygen. The newly oxygenated blood then flows to the left atrium, where it is then pumped to the left ventricle. The left ventricle is the real workhorse of the heart, pumping newly oxygenated blood back out to the body's organs, which then extract the oxygen for their function and discard the CO2 which becomes a by-product of metabolism. The "used" blood is then carried back to the right atrium to start the cycle again.

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