Human Biology III (Cardio Respiratory Performance)

Course CodeBSC301
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


" is very informative and worthwhile. I am glad I started the course. Of the many available from different schools, this offers the best value for money. "
- Sonia, studying Human Biology

The information given was excellent, but the assignments also made you look further to find answers yourself and I find this a much better way of learning than just being handed all the answers. It has given me a grounding knowledge in human biology which is perfect as I am applying to study Chiropractics at university next year. I couldn’t have asked for more from my tutor. She was very thorough and extremely helpful with any problems I encountered.
- Kate, Anatomy


Breathing is the most important function in the human body, it is the first function that keeps us alive. This course provides you with knowledge to improve your energy levels and prevent ageing with correct respiration.

This course covers: blood, blood pressure, pulmonary ventilation, gas exchange & transport, blood flow and gas transport, cardiorespiratory control, cardiorespiratory disease, and more.

Prerequisite: Human Anatomy & Physiology BSC101 or equivalent.

Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. The Science of Blood
    • The Functions of Blood
    • Components of Blood
    • Blood Typing
    • Blood Cells
    • Hematopoiesis; Erythropoiesis, Leukopoiesis, Lymphopoiesis
    • Blood Cell function; Erythrocytes, Neutrophils, Eosinophils, Basophils, Thrombocytes
    • etc
    • The Immune Response
    • Haemostasis
    • Clotting Mechanism
    • Haemodynamics
    • Circulatory Networks
    • Blood Testing
    • Full Blood Count
    • Cross Matching
    • Blood Cultures
    • Arterial Blood Gas
    • Biochemical and Metabolic Tests
    • INR
    • Blood Disorders; Red & White Blood disorders, Blood Clotting, Poisoning
    • Lymphatic System
  2. Blood Pressure
    • Factors Affecting Blood Pressure; cardiac output, peripheral resistance, blood volume
    • How Blood Pressure is Measured
    • The Cardiac Cycle
    • Heart Muscle Cell Contraction
    • Electrical Control of the Heart Muscle Cells; Sinoatrial Node (SA Node), Atrioventricular Node (AV Node), Bundle of His (Atrioventricular bundle), Purkinje Fibres
    • Blood Pressure Problems
    • Systolic hypertension, Diastolic hypertension and Hypertension
    • Distribution of Blood Flow
    • Regulating Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
    • Sensors
    • Problems with Heart Rate; variations, and other conditions including Myocardial infarction and Cardiac Tamponade
    • Electrocardiograms and their Interpretation
  3. Pulmonary Ventilation
    • The Respiratory System
    • Respiratory Epithelium
    • The Lungs
    • Lung Anatomy
    • Alveoli
    • Airway Anatomy
    • Nasal and oral cavities
    • Pharynx
    • Epiglottis
    • Larynx
    • Trachea
    • Bronchi and bronchioles
    • Physiology of Breathing; Equilibrium, Pressure, Inspiration, Expiration
    • Physiological Measures of Lung Capacity and Function; Total Lung Capacity, Tidal Volume, Vital Capacity, Forced Vital Capacity, IRV, ERV, Functional Residual Capacity, MV, VO2 Max, etc
    • Effect of Exercise on Pulmonary Ventilation
  4. Gas Exchange & Transport
    • Gas Exchange in the Human Body
    • External Respiration
    • Oxygen Transport
    • Internal Respiration
    • Haemoglobin
    • Carbon Dioxide Transport
    • Biochemistry of Gas Exchange; Boyle’s Law, Charles’ Law, Dalton’s Law, Henry’s Law, etc
    • Factors Affecting Gas Exchange; Partial pressure Gradients, Gas Solubility, Membrane thickness, etc
    • Compliance
    • Respiratory Control
  5. Blood Flow & Gas Transport
    • Blood Flow; Volume, Target
    • Gas Transport
    • Arterial-Alveolar Gradient
    • Oxygen Transport
    • Factors Effecting Oxygen Release by Haemoglobin
    • The Bohr-Haldane Effect
    • Cellular Respiration
    • Energy Production; anaerobic and aerobic
    • Blood Flow During Exercise and Rest
  6. Cardio Respiratory Control
    • Cardio Respiratory Control and the Nervous System
    • Input Sensors
    • The CV Centre
    • High Brain Centres
    • Baroreceptors and Chemoreceptors
    • The Respiratory Centre
    • Starling’s Law
    • Capillaries
    • The Control of Heart and Lungs During Exercise
  7. Cardio Respiratory Disease
    • Cardiac Diseases and Injuries
    • Chronic Heart Failure
    • Congestive Heart Failure
    • Myocardial Infarction and Ischemia
    • Cardiovascular Diseases
    • Coronary Heart Disease
    • Atherosclerosis
    • Aneurysm
    • Vasculitis
    • Venous thrombosis
    • Varicose veins
    • Causes of Cardiovascular Disease; lifestyle, diet, obesity, genetics, smoking, hypertension, etc
    • Respiratory Disease
    • Asthma
    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
    • Emphysema
    • Cystic Fibrosis (CF)
    • Effects of Cardio Pulmonary Disease


  • Explain the how blood affects human health, including its nature, how it works and its significance.
  • Explain blood pressure and its relationship to health and fitness.
  • Explain the physiology of pulmonary ventilation.
  • Explain the physiology of gas exchange and transport.
  • Explain relationship between blood flow and gas transport in the body.
  • Explain the physiology of cardio-respiratory control.
  • Explain the physiology of cardio-respiratory disease.

What You Will Do

  • Describe the composition of blood by discussing:
    • Plasma
    • Water
    • Solutes
    • Different proteins
    • Wastes
    • Nutrients
    • Gases
    • Electrolytes
    • Platelets
    • Leucocytes
    • Erythrocytes
    • Regulatory substances
  • Explain the functions of blood, including transportation, regulation and protection, including examples of the roles played by some of the different blood components in the performance of these functions.
  • List fifteen different substances which are transported by blood.
  • Explain the movement of blood through the human body, including:
    • where it moves
    • how it moves
  • Explain the physiology of three different blood disorders.
  • List physical changes which occur in different parts of the body when the heart beats.
  • Calculate cardiac output in two different specified situations.
  • List factors which can affect blood pressure.
  • Explain how blood pressure can be measured, using a gauge and inflatable sleeve.
  • Distinguish between systolic and disystolic pressure, in a specific case study.
  • Explain how pulse rate and blood pressure indicate different aspects of a subjects condition.
  • Label the parts of an electrocardiograph, including:
    • the p wave
    • the QRS complex
    • the S-T segment
    • the T wave
  • Describe in one paragraph each, the phases of the cardiac cycle, including:
    • Relaxation period
    • Ventricular filling
    • Ventricular contraction
  • Analyse two electrocardiographs for two different people.
  • Draw electrocardiographs to illustrate five different types of heart malfunction, including:
    • S.A. Block
    • A.V. Block
    • Sinus Arrhythmia
    • Ventricular fibrillation
    • S.T. Depression
  • Compare ventilation during rest, exercise and recovery, for a specific case study.
    • Explain lung capacity, for two people of similar demographics except one being a smoker and the other a non smoker.
  • Explain lung function; including gas movements, and related muscle and bone movements.
    • Explain intra pulmonary and interpleural pressure changes during breathing.
  • Develop a chart which compares symptoms of breathing disorders, with scientific explanations of different problems.
  • Explain the relevance of partial pressure gradients to gas exchange in the body.
    • List factors affecting gas exchange in the human body.
  • Explain how diffusion capacity is related to exercise.
  • Explain one pathway where carbon absorbed as carbon dioxide is transported through the body.
  • List factors which may limit effective blood flow and gas transport.
  • Explain the way in which stroke volume can indicate a persons state of health.
  • Explain how blood flow is redistributed through the body, during exercise.
  • List factors which can stimulate cardio respiratory activity.
  • Describe factors listed which can stimulate cardio respiratory activity.
  • Explain characteristics of cardio respiratory control during rest.
  • Explain characteristics of cardio respiratory control during exercise.
  • Explain the physiological effects of three different coronary risk factors.
  • Explain the anatomical changes to the body caused by atherosclerosis.
  • Describe body changes that may occur (anatomical and physiological) during:
    • a heart attack
    • a stroke
  • Develop a checklist of indicators of different cardio respiratory complaints.
  • Develop guidelines to minimise the risk of heart disease, in an specified person.

Why Do We Need To Learn about the Cardio Respiratory System?

Cardiorespiratory health is one of the most important influences on our wellbeing, quality of life and length of life. Anyone who work in health or fitness industries; or who is concerned about the wellbeing of their clients, friends, colleagues, or even themselves will benefit from studying this course.

  • It can help a coach or athlete toward better performance
  • It can help a fitness leader to understand their client better, and avoid unnecessary and dangerous situations
  • It can help a manager, better manage their staff in the work place
  • It can help a health practitioner extend their scope of understanding of the human body
  • It can do all these things and more

There are many things that can go wrong and affect or occur in the heart muscle, including:.

Chronic heart failure

May also be known as chronic heart disease, or most correctly as cardiomyopathy (cardio =
heart, myo = muscle, pathy = disease).  This is a disease that affects the heart muscle (myocardium).  The muscle becomes increasingly weaker over time and this results in a reduced ability of the heart to pump blood throughout the body. It may affect the left or right side of the heart, or both sides (biventricular cardiomyopathy) and can be caused by a range of different things, including infection, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity and sedentary lifestyle.  It may also appear without any apparent cause (idiopathic).
Congestive heart failure
May also be known as congestive heart disease or congestive cardiomyopathy. This is a condition where the weakening of the heart muscles has resulted in the ventricles in the heart become stretched, making the cavity bigger than normal.  This makes it hard for the heart to contract forcefully enough to pump the blood.  For example, if you have a small squeeze bottle full of sauce, even a gentle squeeze can cause a gush of sauce to come out.  However, if you have a large squeeze bottle with only a little sauce a gentle squeeze will do nothing to get the sauce out.  This is what happens in congestive heart failure. The pooling of blood in the enlarged heart can result in clots forming, which can be very dangerous when they are pumped out into the blood vessels.
Myocardial Infarction and Ischemia
Ischaemia is a condition where a section of organ tissue has died due to lack of oxygen.  In the heart it can occur during a heart attack (myocardial infarction) when a clot in one of the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the myocardium is blocked by a clot.  If the clot does not clear very quickly, all the muscle tissue that is fed by the affected blood vessel will die.  There is no mechanism to repair this damage.  How much it impacts the heart function depends on how many cells died and where they were located in the heart.
Cardiovascular Diseases
Diseases of the blood vessels which may in turn affect the heart.

Coronary Heart Disease
This is a chronic condition that is the main form of cardiovascular disease.  Here the blood vessels that transport blood (and oxygen) to the cells that make up the heart muscle become narrowed or clogged by atherosclerosis (described below).  If a vessel or vessels become partially blocked it can cause pain (angina) and injury to cells as they are not receiving enough nutrients and oxygen. If the plaque grows large enough to block the vessel the result is a heart attack and ischaemia. 


This condition may occur in the arteries serving the heart muscle, or in any artery transporting blood throughout the body.  Basically, this is due to the gradual build up of fatty deposits on the walls of the vessels.  Over time this causes an inflammatory reaction which hardens the vessel walls and leaves them swollen.  More and more accumulation of fat and other substances forms a plaque.  Plaques take up space in the blood vessel, limiting the flow of blood through it.  Where blood flow is significantly slowed, or completely blocked tissues that are being fed by that blood vessel will begin to die from oxygen starvation.
An aneurism is a bulge in an artery or vein caused by the stretching and deformation of the wall of the vessel, often due to chronic hypertension.  They occur most commonly in the arteries, where blood pressure is highest.  The bulge is a weak spot in the vessel and over time they tend to worsen.  Eventually they can rupture, allowing blood to flow out of the vessel and into surrounding tissues.  This is particularly catastrophic and often fatal if the aneurysm is in the aorta or in an artery serving the brain.  A brain aneurysm that ruptures can result in a stroke.  A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, which may occur due to an embolism (blocking of the vessel by, for example, a thrombus.  Alternatively, it can occur when an aneurysm bursts, which not only starves the brain tissue the artery supplies, but also creates abnormal pressure on the brain tissue as the blood leaves the vessel.
Vasculitis:  This is an inflammation of the blood vessels. It usually involves the arteries (arteritis) but may also affect veins (phlebitis) and capillaries. The inflammation may damage the wall of the artery or vein and impair blood flow to the region of your body supplied by that vessel. Sometimes vasculitis occurs along with a generalized disorder, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, but it may also occur on its own.  It is generally an autoimmune disease, that is, it is caused by an overreaction of the immune system which damages the blood vessel walls.    There are many different types of vasculitis.
Venous thrombosis 
This is the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) in a vein. This condition may damage the vein and its valves. In addition, clots that break off and travel in the bloodstream can lodge in the lungs, a condition known as pulmonary embolism. In some cases, this type of clot can also cause a stroke. You may be more familiar with deep vein thrombosis, in which a clot develops deep within a muscle, such as one in the calf.

Varicose veins 
This is a condition in which your veins become twisted and enlarged. The veins are usually located on the backs of your calves or on the inside of your legs, from the groin to the ankle. When valves in your veins don't function properly, blood can accumulate in your legs, causing the veins to bulge and twist.  It is most common in the elderly, and also in people who spend a lot of time standing still.



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