How Does Blood Move Through the Body?

The structure of the aorta, part of the circulatory system.
A person with visible blood vessels, which are part of the circulatory system.
The circulatory system.
Red blood cells in a blood vessel.
A diagram of the composition of the blood.
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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2014
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The blood moves through the body in a circle, moving into the heart and then back out of it on the other side. When blood enters the heart muscle, it goes in on the right side. This blood is depleted of oxygen. It then enters the lungs and is pushed back into the heart on the left, where it is then pumped into the rest of the body.

The term “circulatory system” stems from the fact that blood moves in a large circle around the body continuously. Blood first enters the bottom right portion of the heart, known as the right atrium. From there it is pumped into the upper right portion, or right ventricle, and then into the lungs. Carbon dioxide is pulled out of the blood, and then it is pumped into the lung capillaries where it is infused with oxygen. The carbon dioxide is then exhaled out of the body

This oxygen-rich blood then returns to the heart in the lower left portion, or left atrium, and exits through the upper portion, or left ventricle. The blood moves through the body from that point through miles of blood vessels and arteries in order to move the oxygen into smaller pathways called capillaries. It is there where blood delivers oxygen to the body’s cells.


After giving oxygen to the bodily cells, the blood picks up waste materials which are filtered through the kidneys, liver, and lungs. This begins the process all over again as the blood moves back into the heart. There are valves in place throughout the body to help blood move in the right direction consistently. When these valves malfunction, serious health complications can occur.

The primary organ systems which help blood move through the body effectively are the heart and lungs. The heart pumps the blood through the arteries and veins while the lungs enrich this blood with oxygen so that it can benefit the cells of the body. Arteries which are clear of plaque buildup may help blood move more smoothly. When blockages do occur, they can cause the heart to work harder in order for the same amount of blood to move through the body. This can eventually lead to heart disease and other serious health problems.


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