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Circulatory system

Transport system of the body made up of the heart, the blood vessels and the blood. Also known as the cardiovascular system.

Oxygenated blood

Blood which is carrying oxygen in the form of oxyhaemoglobin

Inhaler

A medical device which delivers medicines to the lungs

Asthma

A condition where the airways of the lungs narrow in response to an environmental or internal trigger making it difficult to breathe

Brain

The main organ of the central nervous system made up mainly of grey matter

Cell

The basic unit from which all living organisms are built up, consisting of a cell membrane surrounding cytoplasm and a nucleus.

Medicines in the body

Simple animations show how a medicine that is swallowed, inhaled or injected can travel round round the body to get to where it is needed.

Breathing and Asthma

Breathing moves air into the lungs. Oxygen goes into the blood and is carried around the body to the cells where it is used. Carbon dioxide – a waste product from the cells – is carried back to the lungs in the blood, moves into the lungs and is breathed out.

The heart pumps blood around the body. When the blood returns to the heart, it is then pumped to the lungs to pick up some more oxygen. The oxygenated blood returns to the heart to be pumped on around the body again.

In an asthma attack, the lining of the tubes which carry the air into the lungs swell up. This makes the tubes narrow get narrow which makes it difficult to breathe. This is shown on the animation. An asthma inhaler (sometimes called a "puffer") is used to relieve the symptoms. The medicine is carried down into the lungs. As it goes through the tubes, it works by reducing the swelling. The tubes get wider again and breathing goes back to normal. This is shown on the animation

The asthma inhaler

Medicines by injection

An injection puts the medicine straight into your body, so it gets into the blood stream very quickly. The animation shows the blood circulating around a simplified circulatory system. When an injection is given the medicine is seen circulating round in the blood.
Injections make sure that a medicine is carried all around your body very fast.
Any medicine which gets into your blood stream is carried to every part of you within a very short time indeed. It will affect all of your body, not just the part that feels ill. It reaches your brain and all your other body organs. This is why it is so important that you only take medicine which has been prescribed or given to you, and that you take the right dose.

Injecting a Medicine