Are You Heart Smart? Take Our Cardiovascular System Quiz!

By: Torrance Grey
Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

The famous doctor, William Ostler, once said, "A man is only as old as his arteries." How much do you know about this essential bodily system and how to keep it healthy? Take our quiz now and find out!

Which of these is NOT a component of the circulatory system?

Also not part of the circulatory system? The lungs, surprisingly. Obviously, they are key to the oxygenation of blood, but aren't considered part of the cardiovascular system.

How many chambers does the heart have?

The human heart is divided into four chambers. Two atria (aka "atriums") and two ventricles.

What is the name of the system that includes the lungs?

The Latin word "spirare," to "to breathe," gives us several important words in English besides "respiratory." They include "inspire" and "expire." Once just meaning "breathe in" and "breathe out," these words now can mean "to stimulate emotionally" and "to die."

Which of these does the circulatory system deliver to tissues of the body?

The circulatory system delivers more than these three things. It also carries nutrients and, when you're on medication, the bioavailable component of that medicine. ('Bioavailable' means the part that isn't filtered out by your kidneys and liver).

Which of these does the blood carry AWAY from body tissues?

Your blood delivers oxygen to cells and carries away the carbon dioxide made in those cells. Then carbon dioxide and oxygen are exchanged in the lungs.

Humans would be better off if there was no carbon dioxide in our system at all.

Though carbon dioxide is often called a waste product, we need some. Without it, the oxygen would have nothing to bind to on our red blood cells, and couldn't be delivered to the rest of the body.

Does a heart attack happen because one of the chambers is clogged?

Though blood moves constantly through the four chambers of the heart, that blood doesn't nourish the heart muscle. Rather, a network of arteries run through the heart muscle, feeding it nutrients and oxygen -- and those arteries can get narrowed and blocked like any others.

True or false: Blood leaves your blood vessels to enter tissues?

The human circulatory system is a closed system. This means blood never leaves the veins, arteries and capillaries.

To reach body tissues, nutrients and oxygen are transferred into the _______ fluid.

Interstitial fluid is the fluid between cells. It's the intermediary between the capillaries and tissues like muscle.

Which of these is NOT a component of blood?

Bone marrow -- specifically, "red marrow" -- is the body's "factory" in which blood cells are made. It is not actually part of blood.

Which prefix tells you a word has to do with blood?

Important words in this group are hemoglobin (which transports oxygen) and hematopoesis (the making of blood cells). It comes from the Greek "haima," for "blood."

Is stroke a malfunction of the circulatory system?

Stroke, and the more minor "transient ischemic attack," are considered neurological problems, because they affect brain function. However, the core problem is a clot or rupture in a blood vessel serving the brain -- it's the lack of blood to a part of the brain that causes the neurological issues.

Which of these is the most important predictor of stroke?

While stress and weight affect your stroke risk, that's in large part because they affect blood pressure, which is generally considered to be the most important marker. According to the American Heart Association, a rise from 120 to 140 in systolic blood pressure doubles your stroke risk.

Which of these is NOT a kind of stroke?

Ischemic stroke, caused by a clot, is the more common kind. Hemorrhagic stroke refers to bleeding in the brain. Wernicke's area, on the other hand, is a part of the brain that controls understanding of speech, and not a kind of stroke at all.

Does the circulatory system help regulate the body's Ph level?

Efficient exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body -- regulated by both the respiratory and circulatory system -- keeps the body's Ph at the correct level (between 7.35 and 7.45). Despite recent hype, diet is NOT a factor in the body's Ph. Nor would you want your body to be very alkaline -- substances with high alkalinity are very corrosive, like alkaline batteries!

Which substance found in the bloodstream is implicated in cardiovascular disease?

Most people are aware of cholesterol, but less knowledgeable about where it comes from and how to control it. Eating cholesterol does not directly raise your cholesterol level; saturated fat does, because the body turns it into cholesterol, which enters the bloodstream.

Would humans be better off if there was no cholesterol in our system?

As with so many supposedly harmful substances, cholesterol plays a role in the body. For one thing, it repairs damage to artery walls. The problem comes when we produce far more cholesterol than needed. The body keeps slapping cholesterol onto walls that don't need it, like a contractor trying to get rid of overstock paint -- and the result is narrowed arteries.

Which of these abbreviations is the "good" cholesterol?

High-density lipoprotein is the name of cholesterol which removes harmful cholesterol from your system, so higher is better. Some doctors refers to HDL as a "garbage truck," saying that "the more garbage, the more garbage trucks are needed."

What is the name for the "bad" cholesterol?

Low-density lipoprotein is the dangerous kind. Health educators suggest that people remember the difference between HDL and LDL by thinking of them as "healthy" and "lethal."

Are all plant-based fats good and all animal fats bad?

Usually, this is a good rule of thumb -- animal fats are sources of unhealthy saturated fats, and plants of unsaturated. But there are exceptions. Coldwater fish, for example, are great sources of healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fats.

Is coconut oil good for your cardiovascular system?

Surprise! This darling of 'clean food' bloggers turns out to be not very good for your heart and arteries. Of course, anyone who read the label on the back should have seen the high saturated fat content, but sometimes a popular misconception just catches fire, and it can be very hard to turn around.

Is avocado good for your cardiovascular system?

This fruit used to get a bad rap, maybe because it is a key ingredient in guacamole, which is often served alongside unhealthy foods. But avocado is high in soluble fiber, which binds to cholesterol and carries it out of the bloodstream.

Hypertension is another name for ______.

High blood pressure can occur for several reasons. Some of them, like physical exercise or high blood volume (from excessive fluid consumption), are temporary and not necessarily unhealthy. But when high blood pressure is ongoing, it's time to get a handle on factors like smoking, stress, and poor diet.

As your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure will ...

It's typical for blood pressure to rise as the pulse goes up, for example, as a result of exercise. But since healthy artery walls are elastic, they will expand to accommodate the more vigorous pumping of blood, meaning that BP shouldn't rise at a directly proportional rate. Note also that long-term, exercise will create a lower blood pressure while the body is at rest.

As you grow older, your target heart rate during exercise should ________.

The target heart rate decreases gradually over the decades. If you exercise at a gym or a YMCA, there's almost certainly a chart on the wall you can consult. If not, you can also find it online.

Myocardial infarction is the medical name for which phenomenon?

The myocardium is the thick middle layer of heart muscle, between the endocardium and epicardium. When it is deprived of blood, the result is a heart attack.

The jugular is a/an _______.

The jugular is a vein, carrying blood back from the head. Its counterpart is the carotid artery, which carries blood up to the head and thus the brain.

The huge artery carrying blood away from the left ventricle is the _______.

You may remember this from the movie "Girl Interrupted" in which Angelina Jolie's character threatens to "jam [a pen] into my aorta." An unimpressed doctor at the mental hospital tells her, "the aorta's in your heart." (Though it actually continues a good way from the heart, down to the abdomen).

The vein-system equivalent to the aorta is the _________.

Actually, there are two vena cava, superior and inferior. They deliver oxygen-depleted blood to the heart, just like the aorta carries oxygen-rich blood back out to outlying areas.

What are systole and diastole?

Systole is the heart contracting, causing a spike in blood pressure (the systolic number). Diastole is the heart at rest, causing lower blood pressure (the diastolic number).

The blood vessels between the arteries and capillaries is called the ______.

The arterioles are smaller blood vessels. Their opposites, in the half of the system that returns oxygen-depleted blood to the heart, are called venules.

The wall that divides the heart in half is called the _______.

The septum divides the left atrium and ventricle from the right one. It comes from the Latin "saeptum," meaning "fence."

In what part of the body would you find the femoral vein?

The femoral artery is a very large blood vessel running from the hip area down to approximately the knee. This is what makes shark attack so dangerous to swimmers and surfers -- the leg is a common target, and if the femoral artery is severed, a person can bleed out very quickly.

A blood clot in the legs is known as deep vein ________.

Deep vein thrombosis is not always in the legs -- but that's most often the site. Painful and reddened at the site, DVT can become deadly if they break free and travel to the lungs

Mitral and tricuspid are names for what?

Valves are like gates, ushering blood into and between chambers of the heart, or into arteries. The mitral and tricuspid valves are between the atria and ventricles -- the "inner doors" of the heart.

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