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Sample Paper: Respiratory_and_Cardiovascular_Systems.doc


To understand the relationship between the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, it is necessary to comprehend how each of these mechanisms works. Tortora et al, (2007), states that the cardiovascular system comprises of the heart and blood vessels; which include veins, arteries, and the capillaries. This also includes the four heart chambers, responsible for the process of blood pumping. There are two chambers pumping blood from the heart through the arteries and the other two chambers, which pump blood to the heart through the veins. The respiratory system comprises of airways and lungs, which help in circulation of air through the body vessels. The airways begin from the mouth to the lungs through bronchioles, which are small airways that lead to the lungs. The respiratory system has muscles, which are responsible for the process of expansion and contraction of the lungs.

Both the cardiovascular and respiratory systems work towards achieving a common goal in the body. Their main achievement is to ensure supply of oxygen to all body tissues and the removal of carbon dioxide from the body tissues. The respiratory system mainly supplies oxygen to the blood stream and removes carbon dioxide from the blood. When the blood less of oxygen gets to the heart, the heart pumps it to the lungs, where the oxygenation process takes place, and it is then redirected to the heart for redistribution. The heart then pumps blood filled oxygen to the rest of the body. This cycle of blood transfer from the respiratory system to the cardiovascular system and from the cardiovascular to the respiratory system is the interaction between the two systems (Tortora et al, 2007).

Therefore, the cardiovascular system and the respiratory system are both interdependent on each other. Meaning that if the heart has a failure, the lungs will not perform their functions well. Healthy cardiovascular and respiratory systems equally contribute to the maintenance of the oxygen levels in the body hence body balance. When the lungs register low levels of oxygen supply, the rate of heart beat increases to compensate for the lack of oxygen, in order to maintain the body’s internal balance. This compensation mechanism should have its control within the body since its persistence can lead to decompensating, which eventually causes death. The lungs also help in maintaining body balance in case the heart fails to pump adequate blood to the body. This happens through the lungs working at a faster rate than normal to help in compensation for the oxygen debt in the body. This change of the working rate is detectable through an increase in carbon dioxide supplication, an increase in respiratory efforts, which causes an increase in the respiratory rates, leading to a decline in the levels of oxygen (Bovvel Et al, 1996).

In conclusion, the respiratory system is dependent on the cardiovascular system to maintain the internal body balances. On the other hand, the cardiovascular system depends on the respiratory system, to effectively perform its functions. Therefore, it is vital that both systems are healthy for the body to be stable.


Bovell D.L., et al, (1996). Principles of Physiology, W B Saunders, Philadelphia
Tortora. G.J., et al (2006). Principles of Anatomy and Physiology, Wiley, New York
Wilson. J.W., et al (1996). Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Illness, Churchill Livingstone, Philadelphia [online] (cited 30 September 2012)
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