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The Cardiovascular System

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´╗┐Cardiovascular system ________________ The Cardiovascular System The cardiovascular system supplies oxygen from the lungs to tissues around the body. It also removes carbon dioxide, a waste product, from the body via the lungs. The main components of the cardiovascular system are; Heart Arteries Veins Capillaries Air inhaled through the mouth and nose travels to the lungs,where the oxygen in the air is then absorbed into the blood.. This oxygenated blood is then pumped around the body by the heart via arteries to tissue cells, including ? the vital organs, muscles and nerves. When blood reaches the capillaries, oxygen and nutrients are released and waste products are removed. Deoxygenated blood travels back to the heart via the veins where it is pumped to the lungs to start the process all over again. The Heart The heart is a complex muscular organ around the size of fist. It lies in the centre of the chest between the lungs in the mediastinum, and is protected by the rib cage. The walls of the heart are comprised of three layers ? endocardium, myocardium and pericardium. ...read more.


Suffering from a number of conditions make it more likely that a person will go on to develop heart failure. These risk factors include; Coronary Heart Disease ? arteries supplying blood to the heart become clogged and narrow due to atherosclerosis. This is one of the most common causes of heart attacks and heart failure. High Blood Pressure ? an extra strain is put on the heart and over time can lead to heart failure. Cardiomyopathy ? damage to the heart muscle caused by infections, drug/alcohol abuse or side effects of prescribed drugs. Heart Valve Disease ? damage or problems with the valves due to infection or ageing. Heart Rhythm Disturbance ? atrial fibrillation is where the heart contracts at a higher rate and in an irregular pattern. In some cases Anaemia or Hyperthyroidism can also cause heart failure. In diagnosing heart failure a doctor would use probing questions, asking for family medical history, current symptoms, any past illnesses, level of physical activity, problems with breathing, sleeping pattern, eating habits, whether they smoked and their level of alcohol intake. ...read more.


Diuretics ? reduce swelling in the legs and ankles, ease breathlessness and aid the removal of salt and water from the kidneys via the urine. ACE inhibitors ? dilates the blood vessels thus reducing blood pressure. Side effects include a dry irritating cough. Beta blockers ? would be used in the case of systolic dysfunction, slowing the heart rate, and protecting from effects of adrenaline. Beta blockers are not suitable for all, those suffering from asthma for instance. Aldosterone antagonists ? work in a similar way to diuretics. They also aid healing of any scarring of the heart muscle. Side effects of this drug include increased potassium levels which would require monitoring. In some cases it may be necessary to operate i.e. heart valve surgery or insert a pacemaker. Heart valve surgery can entail either repairing or replacing damaged and/or diseased valves. Other types of heart surgery are; heart transplant, where a person?s heart is too far damaged to be repaired or treated with medicine and needs to be replaced. The heart transplant list is lengthy, and patients must be matched to donors. Coronary angioplasty and coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) are operations for those suffering from coronary heart disease, to aid the flow of blood to the coronary arteries. ...read more.

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