What Makes up the Human Vascular System?

Nicole Long

The human vascular system, commonly referred to as the circulatory system, helps transport much needed nutrients and blood to various parts of the body. Comprised of the heart, lungs, veins, arteries, and various other components, the circulatory system is vital to one’s survival. Several systems are included in the human vascular system, including the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems.

The human heart pumps blood to the lungs and the rest of the body.
The human heart pumps blood to the lungs and the rest of the body.

Located in the chest, the human heart helps pump blood to the lungs and other organs of the body. The heart receives deoxygenated blood from the vena cava, and processes it through the right atrium and right ventricle. Deoxygenated blood is then pumped into the pulmonary artery, where it travels to the lungs.

All parts of the body rely on the vascular system for nutrients.
All parts of the body rely on the vascular system for nutrients.

Once processed by the lungs, the blood returns to the heart via the pulmonary veins. At this point the blood is oxygenated and enters the left atrium of the heart, passes through the left ventricle, and is pumped to the aorta. The aorta transfers the oxygenated blood, and all of the nutrients contained within the blood, to the rest of the body through a system of blood vessels.

This system of blood vessels, which supply the human body with much needed oxygenated blood and helps process deoxygenated blood, is often referred to as the systemic circulation system. Systemic circulation includes various veins and arteries. It also includes the capillaries that branch into organs of the human body to supply them with nutrient rich blood.

Various veins are a part of the human vascular system. Typically, veins will carry deoxygenated blood away from the organs and to the heart for processing into oxygenated blood. This includes the jugular vein located in the neck as well as the renal vein leading from the kidneys. Other veins include the iliac veins, hepatic veins, and subclavian veins.

Arteries typically carry oxygenated blood away from the heart and help pass it on to the different organs of the human body. The one exception is the pulmonary artery, which is used to transport deoxygenated blood to the lungs for further processing. Examples of arteries that are a part of the human vascular system include the carotid, subclavian, and celiac arteries. Other arteries include the iliac artery and coronary artery.

In addition to the cardiovascular and systemic circulation system, the lymphatic system also serves an important role as part of the human vascular system. The lymphatic system helps to distribute lymph, a component of blood, throughout the body. Part of the human body’s immune system, the lymphatic system is composed of lymph nodes and lymphocytes.

A diagram of the aorta.
A diagram of the aorta.

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