Term Paper: Skeletal System Purpose and Functions

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Skeletal System

Purpose and Functions

The skeletal system is fundamental to survival itself (Think Quest 1999). It keeps the body in shape. It protects vital organs, like the heart, the brain and the lungs, and enables the body to move. It consists of the spine, the ribs, the hands and feet, the hips and legs, the arms and the joints (ThinkQuest).

The spine serves as the central support of the body (ThinkQuest 1999). It consists of vertebrae and cartilages, which hold the bones together. The ribs form the thoracic case, which helps protect the chest. It is connected to the sternum, which makes them more flexible. Flexibility is necessary for breathing. The rib cage consists of 12 vertebrae, 24 ribs and a breastbone. It protects the heart and the lungs from falls, knocks and bumps (ThinkQuest).

The hands and feet are flexible because of their functions (ThinkQuest 1999). The bones in the toes are shorter and fatter than the bones in the fingers. These toe bones help balance the two feet. The hips and legs help keep the body in an upright position and in the movement it makes. The hips and legs support much of the body's weight. The arms are just as flexible because of their many functions. And the joints are used for bending, swiveling, stretching, pivoting and pointing (ThinkQuest).

Bones and How the Skeletal System Works

Bones provide the structure for standing erect and protect the soft or delicate inner parts of the body (Discovery Kids 2000). The skull consists of fused bones. It is on top of the body and acts like a protective helmet of the brain. The bones, or the vertebrae, in the spinal column surround it. The spine or spinal column consists of a complex group of nerves, which protect the heart and lungs in the rib cage. A newborn has more than 300 bones, but these fuse together as a person grows old so that an adult has only 206 (Discovery Kids).

Movements are made possible by bones and muscles (Discovery Kids 2000). Muscles and joints pull on the bones. Muscles are attached to bones, so that when muscles contract, the bones to which they are attached act as levers. They make body parts move. Joints, on the other hand, provide flexible connections between bones. There are joints in the knees, in the neck and the shoulders. Joints in the knees work like hinges of doors, moving the body back and forth. Joints in the neck enable the bones to pivot when the head turns. Shoulder joints enable the arms to move up to 360 degrees like the head of a shower (Discovery Kids).

Bones are made up of a hard substance, which makes them strong (Discovery Kids 2000). They also consist of living cells, which help them grow and repair themselves. Blood is also needed by the bone cells to keep them alive. Blood brings food and oxygen and removes waste matter from the cells. At the center of many bones is the bone marrow. This is what makes new red and white blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for the transmission of oxygen to all the parts of the body. White blood cells are responsible for protecting the cells from germs and disease (Discovery Kids).

Maintenance number of minerals play an important role in nourishing the bone cells (Michael's 1996). They need sufficient amounts of calcium and phosphorus, the primary salt, which makes the bones hard. Vitamins, which play a role in the homeostasis of bone-building are Vitamins a, C and D. Vitamin a helps control the activity, distribution, and coordination of osteoblasts and osteoclasts during the stage of development. Vitamin C helps maintain the bone matrix and other connective tissues. Vitamin C is important for health bones, teeth and blood vessels. Vitamin a plays an important role in the immune system and the healthy formation of bones and teeth. Vitamin D is essential in normal mineralization of bone and cartilage (Michael's).

Calcium is also necessary for healthy and strong bones and teeth… [END OF PREVIEW]

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