Why Is the Circulatory System Important to Humans?

Updated July 19, 2017

The circulatory system is the primary system that keeps the body alive. The system and its components provide energy and oxygen to bodily organs and tissues, while also removing waste. When it fails, humans die.

The Facts

The circulatory system, also known as the cardiovascular system, is made up of the heart and the blood vessels--veins and arteries--that circulate blood throughout the body. The average heart beats 100,000 times and pumps roughly 2,000 gallons of blood every day, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). The heart association estimates the average heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times in a 70-year life. The organ pumps about 5 quarts of blood every minute, according to The typical body has about 6 quarts of blood.


The circulatory system is an involuntary system, meaning it works on its own, without us knowing it's happening. With each beat, or expansion and contraction, the heart pumps blood through a vast array of tubes that feed the body. The cells, tissue and organs in the human body live on the oxygen and other nutrients. If the circulatory system fails, the feeding system stops and life ends.


The heart is the central part of the circulatory system. Simply put, the heart is a pump. The heart is about the size of your own fist and is located in the chest. The heart has two sides and is divided into four chambers. The two upper chambers are called atria, the two lower are called ventricles. The atria contract simultaneously, pushing blood into the ventricles. The ventricles pump simultaneously, pushing blood out to the body. The right atrium goes to the right ventricle and out to the lungs where it is oxygenated and returned to the left atrium. From there it's pushed through the left ventricle and out to the body. The blood is carried through the body first by arteries, which branch off into smaller arterioles and then capillaries. The blood is returned to the heart by veins. Veins and arteries are elastic tubes, or pipelines, that deliver blood. The AHA estimates that if all of those tubes were laid end to end, they would spread across 60,000 miles.


There are many benefits of the circulatory system. For starters, the automatic electrical system in the heart keeps the system working without any thought. A healthy circulatory system maintains body functions, organs and tissue, keeping us all alive.


A healthy circulatory system is important to a good life. However, it takes work to keep the system in check. Heavy fatty- food intake can increase cholesterol in the blood, which creates plaque and eventually clogged arteries. High cholesterol can lead to heart attacks or strokes, according to the American Red Cross, which suggests 30 minutes of physical activities most or all days of the week to help reduce those risks.

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About the Author

Richard Huff is a journalist and author with nearly 30 years experience. He is the author of several books on motorsports and a handful of non-fiction titles for children. He's been working in daily journalism for two decades, and has had freelance work published in publications as Seventeen, Stock Car Racing and JEMS.