|Topics||Blood Cells, Blood Flow, Blood Transfer, Blood Types, Capillaries, Circulation, Pulmonary Artery & Vein, Veins|
Blood is created in bone marrow and is made up of cells suspended in liquid plasma. Red blood cells carry oxygen, white blood cells fight infection, and platelets are cell fragments that allow blood to clot.
To provide oxygen to the body, blood flows through the heart in a path formed by the right atrium → right ventricle → lungs → left atrium → left ventricle → body. When blood enters the right side of the heart it is deoxygenated. It enters the left side of the heart oxygenated after traveling to the lungs.
Blood transfer is limited by the type and Rh factor of the blood. Someone who has Rh-factor negative blood cannot receive blood with a positive type but a person with Rh-factor positive type blood can receive Rh-negative blood. Type O negative blood is the universal donor because it can be given to a person with any blood type. Type AB positive is the universal recipient meaning someone with this blood type can receive any other type of blood.
Blood is categorized into four different types (A, B, AB, and O) based on the type of antigens found on the outside of the red blood cells. Additionally, each type can be negative or positive based on whether or not the cells have an antigen called the Rh factor.
Capillaries are small thin-walled vessels that permit the exchange of oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients, and waste between blood and the body's cells. This process of exchange is called diffusion.
Like the respiratory system, the circulatory system serves to transport oxygen throughout the body while removing carbon dioxide. In addition, the circulatory system transports nutrients from the digestive system.
The two largest veins in the body, the venae cavae, pass blood to the right ventricle which pumps the blood to the lungs through the pulmonary artery. Blood picks up oxygen in the lungs and returns it to the left atrium via the pulmonary vein.
Veins carry blood back to the heart from the body. While arteries are thick-walled because they carry oxygenated blood at high pressure, veins are comparatively thin-walled as they carry low-pressure deoxygenated blood. Like the heart, veins contain valves to prevent blood backflow.