Overview of Vascular System

Overview of the Vascular System

What is the vascular system?

The vascular system, also called the circulatory system, is made up of the vessels that carry blood and lymph through the body. The arteries and veins carry blood throughout the body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to the body tissues and taking away tissue waste matter. The lymph vessels carry lymphatic fluid (a clear, colorless fluid containing water and blood cells). The lymphatic system helps to protect and maintain the fluid environment of the body by filtering and draining lymph away from each region of the body.

Illustration of the circulatory system, arterial and venous
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The vessels of the blood circulatory system are:

Blood moves through the circulatory system as a result of being pumped out by the heart. Blood leaving the heart through the arteries is saturated with oxygen. The arteries break down into smaller and smaller branches in order to bring oxygen and other nutrients to the cells of the body's tissues and organs. As blood moves through the capillaries, the oxygen and other nutrients move out into the cells, and waste matter from the cells moves into the capillaries. As the blood leaves the capillaries, it moves through the veins, which become larger and larger to carry the blood back to the heart.

In addition to circulating blood and lymph throughout the body, the vascular system functions as an important component of other body systems. Examples include:

What is vascular disease?

A vascular disease is a condition that affects the arteries and/or veins. Most often, vascular disease affects blood flow, either by blocking or weakening blood vessels, or by damaging the valves that are found in veins. Organs and other body structures may be damaged by vascular disease as a result of decreased or completely blocked blood flow.

What causes vascular disease?

Causes of vascular disease include:

What are the effects of vascular disease?

Because the functions of the blood vessels include supplying all organs and tissues of the body with oxygen and nutrients, removal of waste products, fluid balance, and other functions, conditions that affect the vascular system may affect the part(s) of the body supplied by a particular vascular network, such as the coronary arteries of the heart.

Examples of the effects of vascular disease include:

Because vascular conditions and diseases may involve more than one of the body's systems at a time, many types of doctors treat vascular problems. Specialists in vascular medicine and/or surgery work closely with doctors in other specialties, such as internal medicine, interventional radiology, cardiology, and others to ensure comprehensive care of patients with vascular conditions.

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Online Resources of Cardiovascular Disease

 

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