Your Body's Systems
The digestive system is made up of organs that break down food into protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and fats, which the body needs for energy, growth, and repair. After food is chewed and swallowed, it goes down the esophagus and enters the stomach, where it is further broken down by powerful stomach acids. From the stomach the food travels into the small intestine. This is where your food is broken down into nutrients that can enter the bloodstream through tiny hair-like projections. The excess food that the body doesn't need or can't digest is turned into waste and is eliminated from the body.
The endocrine system is made up of a group of glands that produce the body's long-distance messengers, or hormones. Hormones are chemicals that control body functions, such as metabolism, growth, and sexual development. The glands, which include the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, thymus gland, pineal body, pancreas, ovaries, and testes, release hormones directly into the bloodstream, which transports the hormones to organs and tissues throughout the body.
The immune system is our body's defense system against infections and diseases. Organs, tissues, cells, and cell products work together to respond to dangerous organisms (like viruses or bacteria) and substances that may enter the body from the environment. There are three types of response systems in the immune system: the anatomic response, the inflammatory response, and the immune response.
The lymphatic system is also a defense system for the body. It filters out organisms that cause disease, produces white blood cells, and generates disease-fighting antibodies. It also distributes fluids and nutrients in the body and drains excess fluids and protein so that tissues do not swell. The lymphatic system is made up of a network of vessels that help circulate body fluids. These vessels carry excess fluid away from the spaces between tissues and organs and return it to the bloodstream.
The muscular system is made up of tissues that work with the skeletal system to control movement of the body. Some muscles—like the ones in your arms and legs—are voluntary, meaning that you decide when to move them. Other muscles, like the ones in your stomach, heart, intestines and other organs, are involuntary. This means that they are controlled automatically by the nervous system and hormones—you often don't even realize they're at work.
The body is made up of three types of muscle tissue: skeletal, smooth and cardiac. Each of these has the ability to contract and expand, which allows the body to move and function. .
The nervous system is made up of the brain, the spinal cord, and nerves. One of the most important systems in your body, the nervous system is your body's control system. It sends, receives, and processes nerve impulses throughout the body. These nerve impulses tell your muscles and organs what to do and how to respond to the environment. There are three parts of your nervous system that work together: the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, and the autonomic nervous system.
The reproductive system allows humans to produce children. Sperm from the male fertilizes the female's egg, or ovum, in the fallopian tube. The fertilized egg travels from the fallopian tube to the uterus, where the fetus develops over a period of nine months.
The respiratory system brings air into the body and removes carbon dioxide. It includes the nose, trachea, and lungs. When you breathe in, air enters your nose or mouth and goes down a long tube called the trachea. The trachea branches into two bronchial tubes, or primary bronchi, which go to the lungs. The primary bronchi branch off into even smaller bronchial tubes, or bronchioles. The bronchioles end in the alveoli, or air sacs. Oxygen follows this path and passes through the walls of the air sacs and blood vessels and enters the blood stream. At the same time, carbon dioxide passes into the lungs and is exhaled.
The skeletal system is made up of bones, ligaments and tendons. It shapes the body and protects organs. The skeletal system works with the muscular system to help the body move. Marrow, which is soft, fatty tissue that produces red blood cells, many white blood cells, and other immune system cells, is found inside bones.
The urinary system eliminates waste from the body, in the form of urine. The kidneys remove waste from the blood. The waste combines with water to form urine. From the kidneys, urine travels down two thin tubes called ureters to the bladder. When the bladder is full, urine is discharged through the urethra.
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