Health Talk
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Taking Care of Our Inter-Connected Body

We usually think of our bodies in terms of individual parts, for example, we exercise to tone our abs, or we eat green vegetables because they are good for our heart. It’s the same way if we get sick or hurt. If we have a rash, we see a skin doctor, but if we break a leg, we see a bone or orthopaedic doctor.

Each individual body system, however, works in conjunction with other body systems. A body system is a group of parts that work together to serve a common purpose. That is – everything is inter-connected. Each of your body systems relies on the others to work well. 

One System Depends on the Other

Just think of our circulatory system, for example, that delivers oxygen through the body. Your heart pumps blood through a large network of blood vessels. When these pass through your digestive system, nutrients absorbed from your last meal are picked up and carried to other parts of the body. 

Your blood also carries oxygen inhaled by the lungs, and this oxygen and nutrients feed other cells of your body. And your blood also picks up any waste products created by these cells, including carbon dioxide, and delivers the waste to the kidneys and lungs for disposal. At the same time, your circulatory system is always carrying hormones from the endocrine system, and the immune system’s white blood cells to fight off infection.

All the Systems and Parts Work Together

Our wonderful respiratory system also relies on other parts of the body to help do its work. 

  • The muscles in your heart that move the blood around can do so because of oxygen they receive from your lungs. 
  • You brain controls your muscles, and your brain is protected by your bones (skull and spine). The circulatory system provides your brain with a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood while your brain regulates your heart rate and blood pressure. 
  • Your bones are busy making new blood cells.

The respiratory system is just one of 10 body systems:

  • Circulatory
  • Respiratory
  • Nervous
  • Muscular
  • Skeletal
  • Digestive
  • Reproductive
  • Endocrine (hormones)
  • Lymphatic, or immune system
  • Integumentary (skin, hair)

When One Part Feels Sick, it Affects the Rest

When we think of how interconnected we are, it is easier to understand why trouble in one body system can cause trouble in other body systems. Stress in your head can cause upset in the stomach, decay in your teeth or gums can deliver bacteria to other parts of your body.

It also shows us why exercise and nutrition is so important. Nutrients are shared throughout, as each part takes what is needed. 

Each Body System Works with the Others

There are many ways we can help our body connect and benefit from all of its systems.

  • Exercise tones muscles, but it also helps everything flow more easily through the system, delivering oxygen and getting rid of toxins. 
  • In addition to soothing sore muscles, therapeutic massage boosts immunity by encouraging movement “inside” the system. 
  • Drinking water aids in flushing out water-soluble toxins, so adequate hydration is certainly directly relevant for keeping organs like kidneys functioning well, as well as skin and the immune systems.