I was just about to commence writing a series of enlightening posts on various cardiac diseases, how to identify them as well as other eye catching and somewhat interesting facts and figures. But then I thought… hmmm! not everyone went to medical school or has the time to go through several piles and pages of content, with seemingly ambiguous words and medical jargon (which honestly sound like Greek even to me sometimes). Why not start from the basics, and this led me to my current post which is more of a “get acquainted with your heart” kind of post.
“as depicted in everyday human interactions, getting acquainted is usually the first step in establishing any form of relationship. In summary, what I’m trying to say is … don’t just have a heart, know about it and then you can learn to to take care of it … a healthy heart most times means a healthy you”
As such, based on this simple principle I believe (and hope) many people would appreciate and benefit from a bit of basic/background knowledge or as I like to think of it “tete-a tete” about the heart and how it functions.
The Heart & The Circulatory System
The circulatory system comprising of the heart and the blood vessels is a beautiful work of art, as I like to describe it (I know my friends call me a heart freak!!!). Its non-arguably one of the most important systems in the body laden with the task of pumping and supplying the entire body with oxygen rich blood, nutrients, gases and hormones needed to maintain cellular life and function. In other words, when the heart is feeling the blues, the other guys feel it too!
Amazing Facts about the Heart (Structure & Function)
- The heart is only about the size of your fist, it is situated within the chest cavity slightly towards the left.
- It is made up of 4 chambers (Right Atrium, Left Atrium Right Ventricle & Left Ventricle) which are responsible for collecting and pushing blood from and through the complex network of blood vessels. The Artery, Veins and Capillaries are the blood vessels which make up the circulatory system.
- Valves: There are 4 heart valves which are strategically located between the 4 chambers to prevent the back flow of blood during the cardiac cycle. they are; The tricuspid, the Bicuspid, The Pulmonic , and the Aortic valve.
- Arteries: are responsible for transporting oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
- Veins: deliver deoxygenated blood back to the heart
- The heart is a very busy organ, it beats about 100,000 times a day!
- The heart generates its own electrical impulse, which causes it to beat and pump blood (This is why the heart can still beat for a period of time even in the presence of brain death or when separated from the body).
- Each minute your heart pumps about 1.5 Gallons of blood
Not only is the heart a pretty amazing organ, it is also very crucial to the normal functioning of the entire human body. Several factors exist which affect the normal function of the heart and entire circulatory system resulting in several disease states. The risk factors are classified as either non-modifiable or modifiable, these would be covered in subsequent posts.
The next few posts would cover different heart diseases, risk factors, tests & investigations as well as available treatment and management options. #StayTuned!!!
Click on the Link below to view a video on the structure and function of the Heart.
(Video Credit: HCL Learning DigiSchool)