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12: The Cardiovascular System - Blood Vessels and Circulation

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    Chapter Overview

    In this chapter, you will learn about various types of blood vessels and circulatory mechanisms in human body. Depending on the direction of the blood flow and their size, blood vessels are categorized into arteries, veins, and capillaries. Arteries carry blood away from the heart, whereas veins bring blood to the heart. Capillaries are small blood vessels where nutrients and gases are exchanged.

    • 12.1: Introduction to the Cardiovascular System - Blood Vessels and Circulation
      In this chapter, you will learn about the vascular part of the cardiovascular system, that is, the vessels that transport blood throughout the body and provide the physical site where gases, nutrients, and other substances are exchanged with body cells. When vessel functioning is reduced, blood-borne substances do not circulate effectively throughout the body. As a result, tissue injury occurs, metabolism is impaired, and the functions of every bodily system are threatened.
    • 12.2: Structure and Function of Blood Vessels
      Blood is carried through the body via blood vessels. An artery is a blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart, where it branches into ever-smaller vessels. Eventually, the smallest arteries, vessels called arterioles, further branch into tiny capillaries, where nutrients and wastes are exchanged, and then combine with other vessels that exit capillaries to form venules, small blood vessels that carry blood to a vein, a larger blood vessel that returns blood to the heart.
    • 12.3: Blood Flow, Blood Pressure, and Resistance
      Ventricular contraction ejects blood into the major arteries, resulting in flow from regions of higher pressure to regions of lower pressure, as blood encounters smaller arteries and arterioles, then capillaries, then the venules and veins of the venous system. This section discusses a number of critical variables that contribute to blood flow throughout the body. It also discusses the factors that impede or slow blood flow, a phenomenon known as resistance.
    • 12.4: Capillary Exchange
      Glucose, amino acids, and ions—including sodium, potassium, calcium, and chloride—use transporters to move through specific channels in the membrane by facilitated diffusion. Glucose, ions, and larger molecules may also leave the blood through intercellular clefts. Larger molecules can pass through the pores of fenestrated capillaries, and even large plasma proteins can pass through the great gaps in the sinusoids.
    • 12.5: Homeostatic Regulation of the Vascular System
      To maintain homeostasis in the cardiovascular system and provide adequate blood to the tissues, blood flow must be redirected continually to the tissues as they become more active. In a very real sense, the cardiovascular system engages in resource allocation, because there is not enough blood flow to distribute blood equally to all tissues simultaneously. For example, when an individual is exercising, more blood will be directed to skeletal muscles, the heart, and the lungs.

    This page titled 12: The Cardiovascular System - Blood Vessels and Circulation is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Simantini Karve.