The Heart

The Heart

The heart symbolizes life. The regular beating of the heart shows that each system on the body is performing in balance and doesn’t need additional nutrition or oxygen to perform its optimal function. Hear beat is one of the basic things that are checked when a person is ill; without a heart, life isn’t possible for long.

The heart’s main function is to pump the blood to all parts of the body. The heart receives the blood in the right and left atria by the great vena cava and pulmonary vein respectively, and delivers the blood to lungs and the body by contracting right and left ventricles respectively.

The human heart pumps blood in two-way close circuited manner, which means the blood needs to pass the heart twice for it to be able to pump it to the rest of the body. The right atrium first receives the blood from Vena Cava and then passes it to right ventricle which sends the deoxygenated blood for oxygenation in the lungs through pulmonary artery.

The lungs then oxygenate the blood and send it back to heart via pulmonary vein in to the left atrium. The left atrium pumps the blood to the left ventricle which pumps the blood to the rest of the body through aorta. This circuit was explained well in detail because majority of the heart diseases begin in this circuit.

From the most common birth defects to changes in the heart due to age; they all begin in this circuit. The heart manages to pump 5 liters of oxygenated blood in 72 beats per minute. This means the heart will beat approximately 2.5 billion times during an average 66 year lifespan.

It weighs approximately 250 to 300 grams (9 to 11 oz) in females and 300 to 350 grams (11 to 12 oz) in males. The left ventricle is always thicker than the right one as it needs more muscle to pump the blood to the rest of the body. The heart always beats with the sync of atria and ventricles.

The beating of the atria will always precede the beating of the ventricles. This is controlled by the purkinje fibers and the SA and AV node. The order is to ensure the proper filling of the heart. If this order and delay between atrial and ventricular beat isn’t maintained, the heart may fibrillate and go into shock.

Most of the diseases of the heart will have an overall effect on the body since the circulation is affected with heart diseases. The most common disease of hypertension strikes almost everyone at one age or the other. The women have lower incidence of heart diseases before menopause due to their protective effect on heart and cholesterol of their hormones.

The heart is one of the most researched organs in the history of medicine. Every year billions of dollars are spent in the research to find ways for improvement in heart function and longevity of life. However, heart will always be prone to develop diseases since it’s the muscle that works non-stop without rest in the body.

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