What is the circulatory system and what problems can it give us?
The body's circulation or circulatory system is a complex network of blood vessels transporting blood from the heart to all parts of the body, and back again to the heart. In doing so, the circulatory system supplies oxygen and nutrients to all body cells.
The circulatory system is made up of 3 types of blood vessels:
- Arteries which carry blood away from the heart
- Veins which carry blood back to the heart
- Capillaries, the smallest blood vessels connect arteries to veins and feed our cells with oxygen
Problems with the circulatory system
Problems with the circulatory system can lead to major life- threatening health issues such as angina, heart attacks, strokes and blood clots. These conditions must be managed by your doctor.
There are also minor health problems related to the body's circulation which can affect your health such as tinnitus, cold hands and feet and varicose veins. If you suffer from one of these minor conditions, there is often something you can do to help yourself.
In the section below, you can find out more about the causes, symptoms and treatment choices of some of the more common minor problems related to the circulation.
This is a symptom, rather than a condition, with a number of causes. The term refers to hearing sounds or noises without an external source for the sound.
One of the simplest causes of tinnitus relates to exposure to loud noises or sounds such as being at a rock concert. Other common causes include ear wax and viral infections such as colds or flu. Read more about tinnitus.
Raynaud's syndrome - Cold hands and feet
Another commonly encountered minor problem of the circulation is having cold hands and feet.
Although one might say that in the deepest days of winter, everyone experiences cold hands and feet, people suffering from this problem may complain of the condition even during summer months. Read more about Raynaud's syndrome.
With age, the ability to remember things appears to diminish. This decline in memory is not a true health problem for most, just simply an inconvenience.
Whilst some might joke that they are experiencing the early signs of Alzheimer's disease, in reality, having a poorer memory than what we are used to is often just a natural part of normal ageing.
The accepted explanation for this is that the circulation of blood to the brain is not as good as it was when one reaches the age of 60 or 70. The Chinese made this observation many years ago and named the Ginkgo biloba tree the 'Memory Tree'. Today, we know that extracts of Ginkgo leaves help to improve the circulation of blood to the brain and other parts of the body.
Varicose veins can occur in practically every part of the body - for example, haemorrhoids are a type of varicose vein.
However, when we speak about varicose veins, we usually refer to the veins in our legs - and the rest of this article refers to varicose veins in this area of the body. Read more about varicose veins.