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    Cardiovascular function and the effects of smoking

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    Address the following:

    Starting with the right ventricle of the heart, describe the function of the heart and the movement of the blood through the pulmonary and systemic circuit. Include a description of gas exchange within the lungs.
    Now consider what happens if Jake starts smoking. Discuss in detail how this will affect the heart and lungs. Think about how this habit might affect the homeostasis of the cardiovascular and respiratory system.
    After many years of smoking, during a routine doctor's appointment, Jake is diagnosed with high blood pressure and early signs of emphysema. Explain the connection between his smoking habit and the diagnoses.
    Also explain why the doctor wants to run more tests to look at Jake's coronary circuit.

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    Solution Preview

    Blood in the right ventricle of the heart is deoxygenated. To obtain oxygen, it is pumped through the pulmonary valve to the pulmonary artery. Arteries always carry blood away from the heart, but in the case of the pulmonary circuit, (blood to and from the lungs) blood in the right and left pulmonary arteries is deoxygenated. Blood gets carried to the lungs to obtain oxygen. Gas exchange takes place with alveoli. Alveoli (tiny air sacs in the lungs) are covered with capillaries. Deoxygenated blood that ends up in the lungs in these capillaries will conduct gas exchange with the alveoli they are covering. Gases (carbon dioxide leaving the blood, and oxygen entering the blood) cross squamous epithelia of the alveoli via diffusion. We exhale the carbon dioxide that has left our deoxygenated blood, and inhale the oxygen we need to oxygenate the blood at the alveoli. Once blood is oxygenated it continues through the capillaries and ends up in the pulmonary veins. Veins always bring blood back to the heart. In the case of the pulmonary circuit, pulmonary veins contain highly oxygenated blood. Pulmonary veins reach the left atrium of the heart where the blood passes the mitral valve and is pumped to the left ventricle. The wall of the left ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution is a discussion of the pathways of blood through the systemic and pulmonary circuits of the cardiovascular system. An explanation of how gas exchange occurs in the lungs and in the capillary beds is also included. After discussing normal functions of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, an explanation of what can go wrong in these systems when an individual is a smoker is also found in this solution. More specifically, we discuss the pathophysiology of diseases such as hypertension (high blood pressure) as well as emphysema. The patient featured in this solution also may have problems with his heart due to his smoking, and that possibility is discussed as well.