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Unit 3 - Circulatory System

This GCSE Biology quiz is all about the circulatory system, which includes the heart and the different types of blood vessels - arteries, veins and capillaries.

Blood is pumped through blood vessels and around the body by the heart. Blood first passes along the arteries to the organs, and veins return blood back to the heart. Joining the two are networks of microscopic sized blood vessels called capillaries. This ensures that oxygen and glucose are delivered to all cells of the body by the circulation, and carbon dioxide and waste materials are removed from cells for elimination from the the body.

The circulatory system is also an important part of homeostasis (keeping the body temperature accurately controlled). It takes heat from the core of the body to the skin when your internal temperature is too hot and, when your core temperature drops, blood flow is diverted from the surface capillaries to reduce further heat loss.

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Humans have a double circulatory system. There is one circuit for the lungs and a second circuit for the rest of the body; blood must go through both circuits before it arrives back at its starting point. This ensures that the oxygenated blood from the lungs is re-pressurised before being sent round the rest of the body. To achieve this, the heart has two sides, one that sends blood to the lungs and the other for the rest of the body.

It is important to keep the circulatory system in a good condition for a healthy life. Exercise increases blood flow and strengthens the heart, but overdoing it can cause problems. It is possible to stretch the heart muscles if you excercise too hard. In most cases, they will gradually return to normal but in bad cases, they remain stretched, meaning the heart no longer works efficiently. Diet plays a large part in maintaining a healthy circulatory system. Making sure that you don't over eat, or eat too many foods with high levels of saturated fats is of great benefit. Saturated fats produce more of the type of cholesterol that clogs up your arteries. Smoking affects the circulatory system too, it can lead to heart disease. With a heart that doesn't work properly, daily life gets more difficult. Doctors use stents to treat narrowed or weakened arteries. A stent is usually in the form of a small tube.

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  1. Which blood vessels have very thick walls?
    They need to have strong walls as the blood is at a higher pressure when it leaves the heart than when it returns
  2. In which part of the heart does the aorta originate?
    The aorta leads blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The Pulmonary artery takes deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs
  3. Which type of blood cell carries oxygen?
    Red blood cells contain haemoglobin, a protein that can absorb and release oxygen
  4. Humans have a double circulation system. How many circuits are there in this system?
    There are two circuits for the blood to flow through. One to the lungs and back to the heart, and a second circuit from the heart to the organs of the body and back to the heart again
  5. Cigarette packets contain health warnings. Cigarettes can cause heart attacks when what forms in the coronary artery?
    Other effects include: raising levels of bad cholesterol which clogs up arteries, narrowing the arteries which reduces the amount of blood that can flow and increases blood pressure, and the carbon monoxide from incomplete combustion binds with your red blood cells, lowering the amount of oxygen the blood can carry
  6. Which vessels have valves and thin walls?
    These return the blood to the heart
  7. The job of heart valves is to prevent what?
    Valves prevent blood from going back in the wrong direction. Valves at the top of the heart prevent blood from going back into the heart again
  8. Inside which artery would a stent be placed?
    The stent will keep the artery open and make it less likely for a clot to form a blockage. A blocked coronary artery causes a heart attack
  9. What are released from white blood cells in order to protect the body from pathogens?
    The release of antibodies is triggered when a white blood cell detects antigens from the pathogen. Individual white blood cells are sensitive to different antigens
  10. What are the chambers of the heart called?
    The atria receive the incoming blood and the ventricles pump it out

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