"For the life of the flesh is in the blood." Leviticus 17:11

Circulation: A Life Process

Circulation is the movement of fluid through a body in a regular or circuitous (continuous) course. The circulatory system, composed of the heart and blood vessels in most animals, functions to produce circulation, typically of blood.

How Circulation Depends on Other Life Processses

1. Respiratory System

  • The heart pumps arterial blood to the circulation. The deoxygenated blood returns to the lungs where it is then reoxygenated. The blood flows to the heart and the cycle continues

2. Digestive System

  • The digestive system breaks down food which contains vitamins and nutrients which in turn is absorbed through the bloodstream. The circulatory system transports nutrients and also gets rid of unwanted materials.

3. Nervous System

  • The nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. These send messages to the heart, telling it to pump blood around the body.

How Organisms Accomplish Circulation:

Unicellular Organisms:

Instead of using the circulatory system, unicellular organisms rely on diffusion to move things across the cell membrane in the cytoplasm to produce their necessities.

Ex: An Amoeba uses diffusion to convert oxygen, water and food to carbon dioxide, energy, and waste materials.


Xylem tissue carries water and minerals upwards from the roots to the leaves . Phloem tissue carries the food downward from the leaves to the rest of the plant.

Ex: A tree has roots that absorb water and minerals.


The system pumps fluid called hemolymph into hemocoel, which is the primary body cavity, the pumping comes from the heart. The heart contains holes where the hemolymph is carried in or escorted out.

Ex: Blood is pumped by the heart into the body cavities.

Three Circulatory Adaptions

1. Amphibians have a three-chambered heart that has two atria and one ventricle rather than the two-chambered heart of fish. The advantage to this arrangement is that high pressure in the vessels pushes blood to the lungs and body. For this reason, amphibians are often described as having double circulation. The trade off is it is not the most efficient circulation.

2. Birds have a heart that is also divided into four chambers: two atria and two ventricles. The advantage is that improves the efficiency of double circulation and is probably required for the warm-blooded lifestyle of mammals and birds. The trade off is that the four-chambered heart of birds and mammals evolved independently from a three-chambered heart.

3. Fish have a single circuit for blood flow and a two-chambered heart that has only a single atrium and a single ventricle. The advantage is that it can circulate through their gills. The trade off is a limit in the amount of oxygen that can reach some of the organs and tissues of the body, reducing the overall metabolic capacity of fish.

Circulation in Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, and Mammals

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Components of Blood

Youtube Video: The 4 Components of Blood


Body Tissues

How the Circulatory System Depends on Other Life Processes

1. Nervous System: The nervous system reacts with the circulatory system by sending messages from the brain to the heart telling it to pump and send blood throughout the body.

2.Digestive System: The digestive system accompanies the circulatory system by breaking down the nutrients and allowing the needed nutrients to go into and give energy to the cells.

3.Muscular system: Since the heart is a muscle it needs the assistance from the musculatory system to be able to pump up blood into the body.

Regulatory Feedback Loop

A decrease in body temperature, say from a chilly winter walk, leads to increased heat-producing activity such as increased metabolism or the muscular contractions of shivering. Heat loss is also reduced by decreased circulation to the skin; the capillaries shrink. Below is a postitive feedback loop showing a response to cold: It is positive because feedback corrects the Input. It gets the body temperature back to homeostasis/ normal. Homeostasis happens without thinking--we just do it.

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  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD) can lead to poor circulation in your legs. PAD is a circulatory condition that causes narrowing of the blood vessels and arteries. In an associated condition called atherosclerosis, arteries stiffen due to plaque buildup in the arteries and blood vessels. Both conditions decrease blood flow to your extremities and can result in pain. Symptoms include: typical pain, numbness, and tingling. Treatment includes lifestyle changes, medicines, and surgery or procedures. Treatment is based on your signs and symptoms, risk factors, and the results of physical exams and tests.
  • Raynaud’s Disease: People who experience chronic cold hands and feet may have a condition called Raynaud’s disease. This disease causes the small arteries in your hands and toes to narrow. Narrowed arteries are less capable of moving blood through your body, so you may begin experiencing symptoms of poor circulation. The symptoms of Raynaud’s disease are particularly prevalent when you’re in cold temperatures or experiencing an unusual level of stress. Treatment includes: Dressing for the cold in layers and wearing gloves or heavy socks usually are effective in dealing with mild symptoms of Raynaud's. Medications are available to treat more-severe forms of the condition. The goals of treatment are to Reduce the number and severity of attacks, Prevent tissue damage, and Treat the underlying disease or condition

Works Cited: MLA

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"40.1: Overview of the Circulatory System." - BioWiki. University of California, Davis, 2 Nov. 2015 "Feedback Loop Showing a Response to Cold: - Google Search." Feedback Loop Showing a Response to Cold: - Google Search. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

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"How Is Peripheral Artery Disease Treated?" - NHLBI, NIH. 16 Nov. 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

"Raynaud's Disease." Treatments and Drugs. Mayo Clinic Staff, 4 Mar. 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

"Bing." Circulatory System in Animals. Boundless. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.