What is the cardiorespiratory system?

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The job of the respiratory system is transporting oxygen from the air we breathe, through a system of tubes, into our lungs. This is then diffused into the bloodstream, whilst carbon dioxide makes the opposite journey and exits our body.

The cardiorespiratory system is consists of the heart and blood vessels. These work in tandem with the respiratory system, which consist of the lungs as well as airways. These two body systems transport oxygen to the muscles and organs of the body. In addition, they remove waste products, such as carbon dioxide, a fact that we mentioned in the first paragraph.

What is the circulatory system, exactly?

The job of the circulatory system is to carry blood, nutrients as well as waste throughout the body.

The circulatory system consists of three autonomous systems which function together:

  • The heart (cardiovascular),
  • Lungs (pulmonary), and
  • Arteries, veins, coronary as well as portal vessels (systemic).

This system is responsible for the flow of blood, nutrients, oxygen, other gases in addition to
hormones to and from cells.

In the circulatory system, the heart is functions as a pump. To be specific, the heart is a double pump. What we mean by this is that blood which requires oxygen comes into the heart and is pumped by the    first pump into the lungs. The second pump of the heart pushes the oxygen-rich blood to all the other sections of the body. This gives the heart its usual, “lub-dub” sound.

The lungs work together with the circulatory system in order to pump oxygen-rich blood to all of the cells in your body. After this, the blood collects carbon dioxide – as well as other waste products – and transports these back to the lungs. Here, these are pumped out of the body when we breathe out.

We require oxygen in order to sustain itself. After approximately five minutes without oxygen, brain cells begin dying. This can lead to brain damage and ultimately death. In human beings, the average breathing, or respiratory rate, is mostly dependant on age:

  • A newborn’s normal breathing rate is approximately 40 to 60 times every minute. This may slow down to 30 to 40 times per minute when the infant is sleeping,
  • The usual resting respiratory rate for adults is between 12 and 16 breaths per minute. This will increase up to 40 to 60 breaths per minute during exercise.

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What is your pulse?

The number of times that the heart pumps, or beats, is measured in a minute. This is known as a person’s pulse rate and this is affected by their current activity level:

  • If you are sleeping, or doing no physical activity at all, your heart is pumping at a resting heart rate.
  • When you’re active, you are making use of all your body systems which need fuel in the form of calories (which are found in food) and oxygen (which you breathe).

The more physical activity you do, the more fuel your muscles require. For this reason, your breathing rate – as well as your heart rate – increase when you take part in exercise. Having the knowledge of how to take your own heart rate can assist you with exercising properly as well as safely.

It is possible to take your own heart  rate by finding two major blood vessels, or arteries, on your body. These two blood vessels are described as ‘radial’ and ‘carotid’:

  • The radial artery is located on the inside of your wrist near the side of your thumb.
  • The carotid artery is found on your neck between your windpipe and neck muscles, as well as just under your lower jawbone.

Locate your pulse using both your index and middle fingers. Count the pulses, or beats, for 10 seconds.

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