What Are the 3 Components of the Circulatory System?

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  • 0:02 Three Types of Circulation
  • 0:37 Systemic Circulation
  • 1:47 Pulmonary Circulation
  • 4:00 Cardiac Circulation
  • 5:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sarah Phenix
In this lesson we will explore the winding trail that is your circulation system and discuss how you actually have not one, not two, but three different types of circulation occurring in your body at this very moment.

Three Types of Circulation

You actually have three types of circulation happening in your body at this very moment. Now, that's not to say that these different types of circulation are pumping different contents. The role of your entire circulation system is to oxygenate your blood and make sure that it is sent to all of the cells of your body. But the three different types of circulation are responsible for pumping that blood to different target organs and areas of your body. So with that said, let's jump right in and learn how these types of circulation are different.

Systemic Circulation

Let's start with the most commonly known type of circulation: systemic circulation. In this process, your body pumps blood to all of your skeletal muscles (from your fingers to your toes), most of the organs in your body (including your brain, stomach, intestines, and), and all of the connective tissues of your body (like your bone, tendons, ligaments, and even fat). So, as you can see, it's a pretty important job. With that said, your arteries, which are the vessels bringing oxygen rich blood away from the heart to all of those tissues and organs, don't deserve all the credit. Your veins are really important to the process, too.

Your veins not only drain your body tissues of the then oxygen deficient blood, which your cells absorbed for the purpose of energy production, but they also collect all of the then oxygen deficient yet nutrient rich blood drained from your intestines. That's right, that bowl of cereal you had this morning was broken down by your stomach and then made its way to your intestines where your veins absorbed all those nutrients and then brought it to your liver for filtration, just to make sure there weren't any toxins in any of those bites.

Pulmonary Circulation

Anytime you hear the word 'pulmonary,' it means pertaining to the lungs, ergo, pulmonary circulation is the portion of your circulatory system involving your lungs. Now, this doesn't mean that you have a separate system to feed the tissue of your lungs, but you do have a separate system to oxygenate your blood. So what does this mean? Well, when oxygen deficient blood makes its way back to your heart after it's run the circuit of your body it needs to be recharged with more fuel, which is, in this case, oxygen.

So, blood returns back to the heart via your venous route and enters into the right chambers of your heart. Now, these chambers are always colored blue in diagrams because the blood there is oxygen deficient rather than oxygen rich. Then your heart sends that oxygen deficient blood through vessels called your right and left pulmonary arteries.

Now, there are a few things that I want to mention about the pulmonary arteries. First is that you have a right and a left because you have a right lung and a left lung. Second is that the term 'artery' tells us which direction the blood is flowing (away from the heart) while the term 'pulmonary' tells us where it is going (lungs). And third, you will always see them colored blue on an illustration because they carry oxygen deficient blood.

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