Human circulatory system diseases describe any diseases that affect the body’s circulatory system (perhaps unsurprisingly) which is defined as the heart and the network of veins, arteries, arterioles and capillaries that transport blood and oxygen around the body. This is sometimes extended to include the brain, though diseases affecting the brain are not normally described as human circulatory system diseases.
A selection of heart diseases are: myocardial infarction, atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, rheumatic heart disease, myocarditis, endocarditis, valvula diseases, pericarditis, pericardial effusion, ventricular thrombus, hypertension and cardiomyopathies. Those affecting the blood vessels, veins, arteries and capillaries include: deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins, pulmonary emboli, aneurysms, atherosclerosis, dissections, arteriosclerosis and hypertension.
This list of diseases which fall under the umbrella of human circulatory system diseases accounts for a large proportion of premature deaths in the West, with heart disease being one of the number one killers for both men and women. Every day, 2,000 gallons of blood travel repeatedly through 60,000 miles of networking blood vessels that link the cells of our organs and body parts. Maintaining a healthy heart and circulatory system then is crucially important to ensure overall health and to avoid potentially fatal complications. Fortunately maintaining a healthy circulatory system is fairly straightforward case of increasing cardiovascular fitness, avoiding destructive health behaviours and sticking to a sensible diet.
Keeping your cardiovascular fitness high will avoid many human circulatory system diseases by strengthening the heart which improves the strength of the pump to help the blood around the system even when the veins are blocked or blood pressure is high and prevents it weakening and giving up. As the heart is a muscle it can be strengthened in the same way – by gradually increasing the stress placed on it. This is achieved through aerobic exercise which will also improve the body’s ability to utilise the oxygen in the blood for energy. Half an hour of running, swimming or cycling three times a week is enough to make a significant difference to cardiovascular fitness.
Various behaviours can also increase your chance of suffering from human circulatory system diseases. These include obesity, inactivity, smoking and alcohol; each of which can intoxicate the blood and put additional strain on the heart. Obesity is a particularly serious risk factor, but fad diets can also be just as risky as they cause rapid weight fluctuation which can place even more stress on the heart.
Cholesterol can also be controlled to prevent human circulatory system diseases as excess bad cholesterol can build up and collect around the walls of the arteries along with fatty deposits and other waste. This ‘arterial plaque’ then causes the arteries to become stiffer and hampers the flow of blood around the body. This can cause angina as well as heart attack and heart disease. In order to lower your cholesterol then, you need to alter your diet, limiting the amount of saturated fats and carbs you eat, while increasing fibre and minerals.