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Know Your Body Systems!

Kathie Bergquist
Written by Kathie Bergquist

body organs resized

When it comes to getting and staying healthy, knowledge is power.

What’s there to know about your body systems? Guts are guts, right?

Not so fast.

The body is comprised of groups of organs that perform specific biological functions but work together like the most complex of ecosystems.

Like an ecosystem, when one component doesn’t do what it is supposed to, it affects the health of all of the other systems that depend on it, like so many butterflies flapping their wings in your Lady Garden. To keep your human ecosystem functioning right, it’s important to understand how your body systems work and what you can do to treat them right.

Therefore, we present to you:

The Human Body Systems: A Tour Guide

Three bodies

The Cardiovascular System

Comprised of the heart, blood and blood vessels, the Circulatory System is the “amazing superhighway” responsible for transporting nutrients, hormones, water, and oxygen to the billions of cells within our body, as well as carrying away the waste produced by those cells, such as carbon dioxide.

Read more about your cardiovascular system here.

The Digestive System

Starting at your lips, this elaborate highway takes food on a road trip of epic proportions from your mouth, down your esophagus, through the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and finally through the anus where—ahem—well you know.

Read more about your digestive system here.

The Endocrine System

Whereas the nervous system sends instant messages through the central nervous system, the endocrine system is more like snail mail, relaying information via glands that secrete hormones through the bloodstream.body systems

Read more about the endocrine system here.

The Immune System

Your immune system consists of tissue barriers like blood vessels, hair, skin and tears. It also includes the adenoids, the appendix, Peyer’s patches, bone marrow and lymph nodes and vessels, the thymus and spleen (ever wonder what the hell your spleen is? Keep reading).

Read more about the immune system here.

The Lymphatic System

Think of your lymphatic system as a well engineered, highly sophisticated filtration plant. It is quite underrated as far as body systems go, but absolutely vital to our body’s abilities to detoxify, nourish and regenerate tissue, filter our metabolic waste, and keep up a healthy immune system.

Read more about the lymphatic system here.

The Muscular System

Your muscular system is made up of  different muscle types. The skeletal muscles are known as voluntary  and comprised of muscle fibers and connective tissues. Next up, the “smooth” muscles are found in organs such as your stomach or uterus. Finally, there is the cardiac muscle, a.k.a. the heart.

Read more about the muscular system here.

The Nervous System

Your nervous system is your body’s switchboard. It communicates messages all over your body: from triggering hormone releases into your bloodstream, to your heartbeat and respiration rate, to moving your hand closer to your mouth so you can drink from your water bottle.

Read more about the nervous system here.

The Reproductive System

The female human reproductive system consists of many (internal and external) organs in your pelvis as well as the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which trigger important hormones that facilitate your menstrual cycle.

Read more about the reproductive system here.

The Respiratory System

The respiratory system is comprised of a complex collection of tissues, muscles and organs responsible for converting the air we breathe into oxygen for the bloodstream, basically keeping us alive. No biggie.

Read more about the respiratory system here.

body systems, stretchThe Skeletal System

270 bones rattle around in that pliable, little body you were born with; growing up fuses your adult skeleton into 206 pieces. This framework protects your vital organs and takes direction from the central nervous system as you move through life.

Read more about your skeletal system here.

The Urinary System

The urinary system works in tandem with the lungs, skin, and intestines to balance the water and chemicals in your body. What kind of chemicals, you ask? The most common is urea, which is waste found in the blood and created by digesting foods containing protein.

Read more about the urinary system here.

You’re welcome!

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Kathie Bergquist, Marcia Brenner, Marian Sherrell Haas, Nikki Rinkus, Amber Ponomar, and Jessica Young contributed to this article.

About the author

Kathie Bergquist

Kathie Bergquist

Kathie Bergquist is publisher and editor-in-chief of Ms. Fit Mag. She teaches writing at Columbia College Chicago and edited of the anthology. "Windy City Queer: LGBTQ Dispatches from the Third Coast" and is co-author of "A Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago." Pulled reluctantly into a fitness lifestyle by her wife and partner of many years, Bergquist is now a runner, a boot camper, and a yogini.

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