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OBESITY & THE CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM The main function of the cardiovascular/circulatory system is to continuously pump blood around the body. It consists of the heart, arteries, veins and the capillary network of arterioles and venules. The capillary network is vast consisting of 62,000 miles of blood vessels. Any blockages in cardiovascular system can be very dangerous to our health, even fatal. The heart, the body's pump, has 2 compartments separated by a septum. Each compartment contains 2 chambers, atrium and ventricle. The right side pumps de-oxygenated blood to the lungs (pulmonary circulation) and left side oxygenated blood to all other organs and tissues (systemic circulation). The heart is made up of a special kind of muscle - myogenic/cardiac muscle which contract automatically and rhythmically. The diagram below shows compartments of the heart in more detail. Blood used by the body returns through the veins to the right compartment (pulmonary circulation) of the heart via the inferior and superior cava, (these are large veins). This blood is then pumped by the heart to the lungs, where carbon dioxide is removed and blood is oxygenated. This blood is then returned back to the left compartment of the heart via 4 pulmonary veins, where it will be pumped to all other cells in the body including the heart itself. ...read more.


The amount of calories required by an individual varies according to age, height and weight. A calorie is 'a unit of energy measurement used to measure heat producing value in food'.2 It is important to find the right balance for the individual; this involves obtaining nutrients from all food types. 'For the average person this maybe 55 per cent from carbohydrate foods, 15 per cent from protein foods and 30 per cent from fats'.3 The consequences of a poor diet, too much or too less of any of the food types can lead to many health problems including obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Obesity is very much a major concern for us as a nation, leading to severe consequences on the health, which can be very damaging if not fatal. 'Obesity is the medical term used for people who have excess weight above a body mass index of 25'4. This condition is a disease which promotes other diseases, including cardiovascular disease. Obesity can be caused by three factors: heredity, lack of physical exercise and consuming more calories than are required by the body. Heredity factors cannot be altered, however we can address the other factors to try and avoid obesity and cardiovascular disease. ...read more.


Exercise will help you to loose weight, burning off excess fat and assist in defence against many diseases including heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, non insulin-dependent diabetes, obesity, back pain, osteoporosis, and can improve your mood and help you with stress management. Daily exercise strengthens your heart muscle; pressure builds up in the heart during exercise which results in stimulation of stretch receptors in the carotid sinuses, these slow down cardiac frequency which lowers the speed of circulation. This together with dilation of muscle arterioles prevent the body developing high blood pressure. Exercise also raises your HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) because it uses glycogen (muscle sugar) which is present in your muscles, keeping insulin levels balanced. Too much insulin in the blood constricts arteries, which causes heart attacks. In conclusion, I realise that healthy living includes not only a balanced diet but also regular exercise to keep the heart strong and healthy. Improvements in these areas will have an impact on all the bodily functions and have major benefits for the cardiovascular system, protecting against many diseases that arise from malnutrition and lack of physical exercise. Healthy living should be a part of life and not just a phase, if living in good health, to a ripe old age wants to be achieved. ...read more.

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