Cardiovascular is a term used to describe components of the circulatory system, derived from ‘cardio’ meaning heart, and ‘vascular’ meaning related to blood vessels. Multicellular organisms require a complex transport network, needed to move the necessary compounds to the outermost cells of the body. The circulatory system in vertebrates is compromised of the heart and blood vessels. These components are a closed loop, meaning blood circulated is constantly cycled through the network of arteries, veins and capillaries. This network is needed to move oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients and hormones around the body, in addition to being essential in maintaining homeostasis through regulation of temperature and pH.
Blood is circulated through the cardiovascular system by the heart. Made up of plasma, red and white blood cells and platelets, the blood is essential in transporting material, both moving necessary resources to and removing waste products from all cells in the body. Material is transported by diffusion or active transport across cell membranes, into and out of the bloodstream. Arteries carry oxygenated blood to the relevant body cells, thin-walled capillaries allow the exchange of this material both into and out of cells, and veins move deoxygenated blood back to the lungs to be excreted.

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