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What Is the Purpose of the Circulatory System?

written by: Lashan Clarke•edited by: Diana Cooper•updated: 4/29/2010

What is the purpose of the circulatory system? There are a few purposes. Learn what they are in this article.

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    An Introduction To The Circulatory System

    It is amazing at times like these to discuss What is the purpose of the circulatory system? The circulatory system can be broken down into three main components: the heart, blood, and the vessels that take the blood along with its cell components. Therefore, with the topic of the circulatory system, it is necessary to first define the word circulatory, which comes from the root word “circulation" which means to distribute. This is one of the first purposes of the circulatory system as it distributes its components evenly throughout the body.

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    The Components Of The Circulatory System

    The main component of the circulatory system is the heart and it is used to pump blood to all areas of the body. The heart has valves that close and open creating a pressure to move the blood along. In this way the blood is evenly distributed to all the organs and cells. In this manner the body can take oxygenated blood to the cells and remove deoxygenated blood from the cells using the circulatory system. Thus the red blood cells are able to hold oxygen to be transported while carbon dioxide is removed from the organs. This is also the same way in which hormones and nutrients are transported in the blood to the areas that they are needed.

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    The Second Purpose Of Circulation

    Another purpose of the circulatory system is to help defend the body against diseases. Located within the blood are numerous white blood cells that defend the body from attack. This attack can be from bacteria, viruses, or even fungi. These white blood cells are mobile and can leave the circulatory system to go to the area where they are most needed. In this manner it is assured that the area that is diseased does not have to have the blood vessels in direct supply to it as the white blood cells are able to leave the vessels and destroy anything it considers foreign.

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    The Third Purpose Of Circulation

    A third purpose of the circulatory system is to transport heat and maintain the body’s temperature. This is a vital area when discussing What is the purpose of the circulatory system? As the liver produces heat, the circulatory system is able to distribute that heat to the vital organs such as the heart, brain, and lungs to keep them properly functioning. This is also a needed essential for those people who live in cold climates as the circulation distributes the heat to the skin to prevent hypothermia and keep organs and enzymes working correctly. The enzymes within the body need a certain temperature with which they are able to function correctly. If the body did not produce heat and use the circulatory system to distribute this heat, there are so many vital processes such as digestion that would not occur correctly.

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    Print Source: Cotran R, Kumar V, and Robbins, SL. 1999. Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease, 6th Ed. W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia.