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Disorders Of Circulatory System

Disorders Of Circulatory System

Al the living cells require nutrients, oxygen etc. for proper functioning. These substances are transported via blood throughout the body. You must be knowing that the circulatory system of human beings is composed of blood vessels, the heart and the blood. Have you ever wondered why doctors prescribe us to have blood tests like lipid profiles or get our ECG reports? The reason being, they want to check the parameters related to the proper functioning of our heart. 

Any ailment in the circulatory system that affects the blood vessels, blood and the heart is considered as the disorder of circulatory system. Disorders in the circulatory system result in disruption in the transportation of oxygen, nutrients and hormones throughout the body. Massive heart disorders which can be fatal can be avoided by taking precautions and preventive medications. Let us discuss some of the disorders of the circulatory system.

Table of Contents


Hypertension is the condition characterised by persistent high blood pressure. In hypertension, the systolic pressure has a reading of 140 (140 mm of Hg) and the diastolic pressure has a reading of 90 (90 mm of Hg), i.e., (140/90) or higher. 

Usually cholesterol build up causes narrowing of the lumen of arteries, as a result of which blood pressure increases. This increases the workload of the heart to pump blood. 

Higher the pressure, more is the stress on the heart. The heart muscle thickens, tends to enlarge, and gets weaker over time. 

Due to high blood pressure, several heart diseases occur. This affects other vital organs as well such as the brain, kidneys, eyes etc.

Causes of Hypertension

The causes of hypertension are enlisted below:

  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Kidney disorders

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease, often described as atherosclerosis, occurs due to plaque formation in the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart. 

The plaque is composed of cholesterol, calcium, fat and fibrous tissue. Atherosclerotic plaque formation causes deformity in the arterial wall. With the gradual growth of these plaques, the lumen of arteries become progressively narrower which hampers proper blood supply. Build up of such a plaque in the coronary artery (artery that supplies blood to the heart muscles) hinders blood supply to the heart. This may result in a heart attack.



Arteriosclerosis is the condition of hardening and loss of elasticity of arteries due to calcification of plaques. This makes the walls stiff and rigid. Formation of plaque occurs when calcium salts precipitate with cholesterol. The walls of arteries may rupture due to loss of elasticity. Blood comes out of the ruptured wall which after forming a clot blocks the path of blood flow. This may lead to heart attack.


Atherosclerosis vs Arteriosclerosis



Atherosclerosis is the condition caused by the formation of plaques in the lumen of arteries due to deposition of fatty substances such as cholesterol and triglycerides. 

Arteriosclerosis is the condition caused by the calcification of plaque deposited in the arterial wall.

Atherosclerosis leads to narrowing of arterial lumen.

Arteriosclerosis leads to rigidity, thickening and stiffness of the arterial wall.



Angina is also known as angina pectoris. The term is derived from the Latin words ‘angere’ (to strangle) and ‘pectus’ (chest). It is also described as ‘a strangling feeling in the chest’. It occurs due to deficiency of oxygen reaching to the heart muscles due to narrowing of arteries. The blood flow is affected. The symptom of angina is acute chest pain. Men and women of any age may suffer from angina. It is more common among the middle-aged and elderly.


Myocardial infarction

Myocardial infarction is also known as heart attack. The plaque deposited in the arteries when rupture and block the coronary artery, hinder blood flow to cardiac muscles. The blockage results in the damage or death of the cardiac muscle tissue. As a result, the functions of the heart get affected. This can have fatal consequences.


Heart Failure

Heart failure is a state in which the heart doesn't pump blood effectively to meet the requirements of the body. It is also known as congestive heart failure because one of the main symptoms is the congestion of lungs.

Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest is the condition when the heart stops beating. As a result, the blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.

Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease refers to any defect in the heart since birth. It occurs due to defects in normal development of the heart during embryonic stages. 

The defect in the child can be caused due to infections in mothers during pregnancy like infection with Rubella virus. Administration of harmful drugs during the first trimester of pregnancy is another reason. Chromosomal abnormalities occur in congenital heart defects.



The condition characterised by irregular beating of the heart is called arrhythmia. It is the result of improper coordination of myocardial signals.

It is of two major types:

  • Bradycardia: Slow beating of the heart
  • Tachycardia: Fast beating of the heart


Leucocytosis is the condition characterised by increased WBCs in the blood. It is usually the response to underlying infections. However, in certain cases, the increased level of white blood cells doesn’t return to normal even after the elimination of the infection. Such situations require immediate medical intervention. 

Atrial Septal Defect

A hole present between the atria (upper chambers) of the heart is referred to as the atrial septal defect (ASD). This increases the amount of blood reaching the lungs. This is an example of congenital heart defect. Usually large, long-term defects need surgical interventions. Small defects usually close by early childhood.

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Practice Problems of Disorders Of Circulatory System

Question 1. In the lumen of arteries of person A, plaque formation occurs. This plaque is of cholesterol. Person A is suffering from which of the following heart diseases?

a. Congenital heart disease
b. Atherosclerosis
c. Myocardial infarction
d. Angina pectoris

Solution: The formation of cholesterol plaque in the lumen of arteries causes atherosclerosis. The lumen becomes narrower as a result of this. This obstructs blood flow and may lead to heart attack.

Hence, the correct option is b.

Question 2. In hypertension, the systolic and diastolic pressure are:
a. Systolic- 140 mmHg, diastolic- 90 mmHg
b. Systolic- 120 mmHg, diastolic- 80 mmHg
c. Systolic- 90 mmHg, diastolic- 60 mmHg
d. Systolic- 90 mmHg, diastolic- 120 mmHg

Solution: The condition characterised by persistent high blood pressure is known as hypertension. A systolic pressure of 140 mm of Hg and a diastolic pressure of 90 mm of Hg (140 over 90) or greater indicates hypertension.

Hence, the given option is a.

Question 3. Identify the conditions in the given figure.


Solution: In the given figure, ‘a’ represents atherosclerosis and ‘b’ represents arteriosclerosis. 

  • In figure a, cholesterol deposits can be spotted. The formation of cholesterol plaque in the lumen of arteries causes atherosclerosis. The lumen becomes narrower as a result of this. Hence, figure a represents atherosclerosis.
  • Figure b shows thickened arterial walls. The calcification of plaque causes rigidity, thickening and stiffness of the arterial wall, the condition called arteriosclerosis. Thus, figure b represents arteriosclerosis.

Question 4. Congenital heart disease occurs:
    a. By birth
    b. Due to chromosomal abnormalities
    c. Develop in lifetime
    d. Both a and b

Solution: Any cardiac problem that persists since birth due to a defect in the heart's development is called congenital heart disease. It also occurs due to chromosomal abnormalities. Hence, the correct option is d.

Frequently Asked Questions of Disorders Of Circulatory System

Question 1. What is the cause of angina pectoris?

Solution: Angina pectoris is caused due to lack of oxygen in the cardiac muscles as a result of arterial constriction. Blood flow is hampered due to this. This causes acute chest pain.

Question 2. Mention the common symptoms of heart failure.

Solution: Following are the common symptoms of heart failure:

  • Fatigue resulting in activity limitation
  • Congestion
  • Edema or ankle swelling
  • Shortness of breath

Question 3. What are the causes of hypertension?

Solution: The causes of hypertension are as follows:

  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Kidney disorder

Question 4. How does myocardial infarction occur?

Solution: When plaque builds up in the coronary artery to a significant extent and obstructs or completely stops the blood supply to the heart muscle, it results in myocardial infarction.

Rupture of plaque or clot, blocking the coronary artery, may also lead to obstruction of blood flow. This may lead to myocardial infarction. The heart muscle tissue is damaged or killed as a result of this obstruction.

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