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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the system of blood flow through the body
  • Describe how blood pressure is regulated

Blood pressure (BP) is the pressure exerted by blood on the walls of a blood vessel that helps to push blood through the body. Systolic blood pressure measures the amount of pressure that blood exerts on vessels while the heart is beating. The optimal systolic blood pressure is 120 mmHg. Diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure in the vessels between heartbeats. The optimal diastolic blood pressure is 80 mmHg. Many factors can affect blood pressure, such as hormones, stress, exercise, eating, sitting, and standing. Blood flow through the body is regulated by the size of blood vessels, by the action of smooth muscle, by one-way valves, and by the fluid pressure of the blood itself.

How blood flows through the body

Blood is pushed through the body by the action of the pumping heart. With each rhythmic pump, blood is pushed under high pressure and velocity away from the heart, initially along the main artery, the aorta. In the aorta, the blood travels at 30 cm/sec. As blood moves into the arteries, arterioles, and ultimately to the capillary beds, the rate of movement slows dramatically to about 0.026 cm/sec, one-thousand times slower than the rate of movement in the aorta. While the diameter of each individual arteriole and capillary is far narrower than the diameter of the aorta, and according to the law of continuity, fluid should travel faster through a narrower diameter tube, the rate is actually slower due to the overall diameter of all the combined capillaries being far greater than the diameter of the individual aorta.

The slow rate of travel through the capillary beds, which reach almost every cell in the body, assists with gas and nutrient exchange and also promotes the diffusion of fluid into the interstitial space. After the blood has passed through the capillary beds to the venules, veins, and finally to the main venae cavae, the rate of flow increases again but is still much slower than the initial rate in the aorta. Blood primarily moves in the veins by the rhythmic movement of smooth muscle in the vessel wall and by the action of the skeletal muscle as the body moves. Because most veins must move blood against the pull of gravity, blood is prevented from flowing backward in the veins by one-way valves. Because skeletal muscle contraction aids in venous blood flow, it is important to get up and move frequently after long periods of sitting so that blood will not pool in the extremities.

Blood flow through the capillary beds is regulated depending on the body’s needs and is directed by nerve and hormone signals. For example, after a large meal, most of the blood is diverted to the stomach by vasodilation of vessels of the digestive system and vasoconstriction of other vessels. During exercise, blood is diverted to the skeletal muscles through vasodilation while blood to the digestive system would be lessened through vasoconstriction. The blood entering some capillary beds is controlled by small muscles, called precapillary sphincters, illustrated in [link] . If the sphincters are open, the blood will flow into the associated branches of the capillary blood. If all of the sphincters are closed, then the blood will flow directly from the arteriole to the venule through the thoroughfare channel (see [link] ). These muscles allow the body to precisely control when capillary beds receive blood flow. At any given moment only about 5-10% of our capillary beds actually have blood flowing through them.

Questions & Answers

explain the importance of carbon dioxide in the body
Kiiza Reply
how does that works
SAMUEL
diagram of Prokaryotic cells
Magreth Reply
where is it?
Yazi
ʜɪ
Malikie
ʜɪ
Malikie
where is the diagram?
Yazi
waiting.....
Yazi
what
Malikie
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Joelia
gd morning
Hannalyn
morning how are u doing
Paul
doing all fyn en u
Joelia
👍👍👍
Gruxz
morning everyone.. by is Grace we have be saved... Ephesians 2:8....
Cosmo
hi
Kisa
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Ellie
u a most wlcm
Joelia
🍑🐕
Ken
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Sulaiman
u are welcome
Peace
thanks
Ellie
..amitabatha..
Ken
He guys happy New month
Peace
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Reine
welcome
James
thanks so much!!
Reine
how re u Reine Balla
James
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Peace
HAPPY new month to u
James
Thanks and same to u
Peace
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James
hi guys
Tafadzwa
Define the term Biology element atom
James
my name is rons am asking the question what is blood compatibility
Rons
Do you really no the one you text with.
Israel
I'm fine James, just boredom want to finish me!!
Reine
what is a cell of a bacteria called
Sahfe Reply
what is genotype
James
genotype: this is the combination of alleles an organism has for a given characteristic..
Cosmo
what is maiotic
Gabriel Reply
what is sexual reproduction
Gabriel
what are the effects of concentration gradient in the uptake of water by plant's
Harleen Reply
ls it ok if you have sex during pregnancy
Kags Reply
no
Bernard
yes!!!
Yazi
Yes
Babie
hello
Cabdi
Babie Maseuse .. Hello .. how are you ?
kf
yes it make the baby's strength stay longer
REAL
Who are you?
Babie
why not it's nicer and more enjoyable more than ok for the woman
Lamin
danso from the Gambia and you why do you ask
Lamin
as long as the woman is comfortable and in any possible position good for her
Lamin
unless medically advised to stop or hault and those conditions are also applicable to certain problem in pregancies. Pls any further comment pls never hesitate to ask
Lamin
how tell us
Tony
an assignment for you pls
Lamin
it's recommended
Nyakato
Hello
george
hi how are you?
Lamin
Fine
george
hello everyone
Cosmo
Good night to everyone am from Zambia may the Grace of the Lord be with you all
Cosmo
u too hv gd dreams
Joelia
thanks colleagues and wish you all the best insha Allah
Lamin
InshaAllah
Joelia
Marsha Allah
Lamin
yes
James
What is the meaning of organ
Ronald Reply
tissue combined to form organ
zameer
join
Elishs
orga- these are tissues join together to perform a specific functions.
Elishs
then what are tissues
Kags
group of cells working together to perform a particular function
Harleen
tissue are group of cells put together to perform a certain goal
Bernard
What will happen when read blood cell placed in 0.5 % Nacl solution
zameer Reply
what is biology
Tariro Reply
biology is the study of living organisms
Bernard
examply is the study of.
Nantamu
biology is the study of life.
Nantamu
what is biology
Francis Reply
kidny with large and and many glomeruli are characcteristic feathure of ?
zameer
Can you please put up the notes for antibiotics
Jesus Reply
I can't
Francis
we should first know what is antibiotics.what is antibiotics.
Francis
A cell is the basic functional unit of life.
Jael
what is a cell ?
Rabecca Reply
A cell is the basic functional unit of all organisms
Glandwell
A cell is a basic functional and structural unit of life.
Mavis
please, emphasize more on the coronary circuit
Toyyiba Reply
define the photosynthesis
Sabrinah Reply
list the type of protein
Sabrinah
sugar.glucose
Tamirat
renin,pepsin
Nyakato
peptides
Nyakato
what is photosynthesis
Francis
what is biology
Nathan Reply
branch of science which deal with living and non living things
zameer
different branches of biology
linus
zameer is right
Onuoha
we don't study non living things in biology
mejury
biology is simply the study of life
Toyyiba
biology can simply be the branch of science that deals with the study of flora and fauna
Nyakato
Biology is the study of life
Peace
What is Diffusion
Soliu
The word "Bio" means life and "Logy" means study or knowlegde". Biology is the study of Life (living organisms from microorganisms to plant and animals), their behaviour, mode of living, actions, e.t.c
adewunmi
Bio means life and logy means study of so in other words Biology means study of life
Peace
what is zameer
Francis

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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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