The healthy cardiovascular system is capable of providing appropriate blood flow to each of the organs and tissues of the body under a wide range of conditions. This is done by
• Maintaining arterial blood pressure within normal limits
• Adjusting the output of the heart to the appropriate level
• Adjusting the resistance to blood flow in specific organs and tissues to meet special functional needs
The regulation of arterial pressure, cardiac output, and regional blood flow and capillary exchange is achieved by using a variety of neural, hormonal, and local mechanisms. In complex situations (e.g., standing or exercise), multiple mechanisms interact to regulate the cardiovascular response. In abnormal situations (e.g., heart failure), regulatory mechanisms that have evolved to handle normal events may be inadequate to restore proper function. The next few chapters describe these regulatory mechanisms in detail.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.