The Cardiovascular System, The Workhorse Of The Body

984 WordsSep 22, 20154 Pages
The cardiovascular system, the workhorse of the body, has long been an object of fascination by civilizations. How does such a tiny muscle support the life of a human for such a long period of time? The answer lies within the physiology of the cardiovascular system itself. Simple one-celled organisms had one major problem when it came to the diffusion of oxygen, the oxygen required by a mammal for instance, would be much greater than the rate at which these cells could diffuse oxygen. Thus the need for a more efficient process was integral in the creation of cardiovascular system as we know it today. The ability of the heart to pump blood fast enough (and in continuous loops) allows for this absorption of vital nutrients in a prompt manner. However the common knowledge we have currently about the way this system works is a relatively new understanding. In the 17th century, an Italian anatomist named Marcello Malpighi observed the capillary exchange between interstitial fluid and blood. This idea was a radical one (p.463-464). Common belief at the time was that the cardiovascular system distributed both blood and air. Many had thought that blood was produced in the liver and was distributed through the veins and also believed that it was the arteries that distributed oxygen to the body. William Harvey disproved this belief when he discovered that that weight of blood pumped by the heart in one hour exceeds the weight of the entire body. He soon discovered the one-way loop in
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