What Is the Importance of the Circulatory System?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

The importance of the circulatory system can hardly be understated; without it, the body would cease many of its primary functions, leading to a very quick demise. Some of the critical roles the circulatory system plays include aiding the fight against infection, keeping body temperature stable, and ensuring that all parts of the body receive oxygen and nutrients. Learning about the unique processes undertaken during circulation can help make clear the vital role of the circulatory system.

Two blood vessels with capillaries between them.
Two blood vessels with capillaries between them.

The circulatory system acts like an enormous expressway in the body, providing both the routes and the momentum to get different substances around the body. One of the major purposes of this highway is to help disease-fighting white blood cells sneak up on foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. When a body detects that it is under attack by an infection, white blood cells begin to race to the site of the attack, using the pathways of circulation to reach their goal. If the circulatory system is not functioning properly, white blood cells may be slowed down, giving the infection time to grow and strengthen.

The structure of the aorta, part of the circulatory system.
The structure of the aorta, part of the circulatory system.

Another key factor in the importance of the circulatory system is its ability to help regulate body temperature. Humans and animals can only survive within a certain temperature range; rise too high or drop too low and death can follow quickly. When a body grows too hot, small blood vessels called capillaries swell near the skin, allowing some of the excess heat to push through the skin and evaporate. Likewise, when cold, the capillaries will contract, keeping heat in the core of the body as a means of keeping essential organs warm and functioning. Like all blood vessels, the temperature-regulating capillaries are part of the great superhighway of the circulatory system.

The circulatory system helps fight against infection, keeps body temperature stable, and ensures oxygen is delivered to all parts of the body.
The circulatory system helps fight against infection, keeps body temperature stable, and ensures oxygen is delivered to all parts of the body.

Perhaps the greatest importance of the circulatory system can be found in its ability to feed and oxygenate organs throughout the body. When the lungs take in oxygen, the heart pumps the oxygen into depleted blood cells, enriching them and sending them on their path throughout the body. Blood cells also absorb nutrients and vitamins that are distributed to organs on the circulatory loop around the body. Without a properly functioning circulatory system, organs may suffer from malnourishment and lack of oxygen, losing their ability to continue their vital work.

Exercising, eating a good diet, and maintaining a healthy weight are all good for the circulatory system.
Exercising, eating a good diet, and maintaining a healthy weight are all good for the circulatory system.

The importance of the circulatory system is so crucial that many medical experts encourage a regular routine of maintenance to help it continue to run as needed. Cardiovascular exercise is often recommended, as it keeps the vital heart muscle toned and healthy. Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a good diet can also aid the circulatory system by keeping arteries free of fatty buildup and keeping excess weight from exerting extra pressure on the heart.

Cardiovascular exercise is recommended to keep the heart and circulatory system healthy.
Cardiovascular exercise is recommended to keep the heart and circulatory system healthy.
Problems with the circulatory system may result in leg swelling.
Problems with the circulatory system may result in leg swelling.
After completing cardiovascular exercises, an athlete typically experiences lower blood pressure than he had prior to starting the workout.
After completing cardiovascular exercises, an athlete typically experiences lower blood pressure than he had prior to starting the workout.
While 120/80 mm Hg is often considered a maximum for blood pressure, measurements that fall too far below this norm may cause symptoms.
While 120/80 mm Hg is often considered a maximum for blood pressure, measurements that fall too far below this norm may cause symptoms.
Blood vessels act like an expressway, providing a way to move different substances around the body.
Blood vessels act like an expressway, providing a way to move different substances around the body.
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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