A heart is an amazing muscular organ that drives our circulatory system. The main function of the heart is to pump the blood throughout the body. Our circulatory system consists of a network of arteries, veins, and capillaries. Our blood contains oxygen and nutrients which are required by other tissues and organ of our body to remain active and alive. Heart play an important role to supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissue and organ of our body and removes carbon dioxide and other wastes. So, you can assume how a healthy heart is important for a healthy life. Let’s know about the more about our heart.
Location & chambers or valves:
A heart is located between the lungs, in the middle compartment of our chest. The heart is typically 12 cm in length, 8 cm wide and 6 cm in thickness. There are four chambers in heart:
- Two upper atria(atrium), the receiving chambers (right and left)
- Two lower ventricles, the discharging chambers (right and left)
There are four valves in the heart which separates its chambers know as:
- Aortic valve
- Tricuspid valve
- Pulmonary valve
- Mitral valve
How heart works
The heart is divided into two sides one is right side with right atrium and ventricles and other is left side with left atrium and ventricles. The blood gives oxygen, nutrients and other nourishment that is required by our body’s tissue or organ and this journey is performed by heart by pumping out mechanism. In figure A above, there are two vena cava (blue), are in the right side known as superior vena cava and in the bottom is inferior vena cava are the largest vein in our body.
What they do:
They just carry the poorly oxygenated blood from the body’s organ and tissue and back to the right atrium of our heart. (The superior vena cava carries the blood from the upper part of our bodies such as head, arm, neck, and chest while inferior van cava carries the blood from the lower part of our body.)With the help of superior vena cava, poorly oxygenated blood firstly comes into the right atrium and then flows into right ventricles while inferior vena cava contains deoxygenated blood from the bottom or lower part of our body to direct right ventricles. Now, from the right ventricles, the blood pumped through the pulmonary arteries to our lungs.
After coming into the lungs, blood flows through the tiny and thin blood vessels called capillaries. The blood carries oxygen their and transfers carbon dioxide to the lungs by a gas exchange process. The oxygen-rich blood comes back to the heart by pulmonary vein (above figure A) to the left atrium and continuing down through the mitral valve, blood flows into left ventricles. From the left ventricle, some of the blood remains in coronary arteries as of heart is also an organ and required oxygen-rich blood, while other pumps from the left ventricle to the aorta. The aorta which is present at the top in figure A is the main artery that carries oxygen-rich blood to our body. From the aorta, blood flows through small arteries and capillaries to reach all parts of our body.
Now from the body, poor blood comes through the vena cava to heart and again process begins. Both aortic (aortic semilunar valve) valve and mitral (bicuspid valve) present left the side of the atrium and ventricles while tricuspid and pulmonary valve present right side of the atrium and ventricles.
A heart is an important part of our body because it supplies oxygen and nutrients to all parts of our body. If it doesn’t work properly, for sure many diseases will arise.
Angina is a heart complication that is defined as chest pain. This happens when the flow of oxygen-rich blood decrease and the heart does not get enough blood to pump out properly and which cause chest pain and discomfort. Mostly, jaw, neck, shoulder, arm, and back are affected. If it is not treated earlier, another complication will arise.
This happens when plaque is formed on the wall of coronary arteries. After plaque formation, the level of blood flow decreases which is not suitable for a heart to pump out properly. It is like angina, but the only difference is, angina does not damage heart muscle like myocardial infarction does. Both angina and myocardial infarction are known as coronary artery disease. In myocardial if symptoms persist or do not cure, it will cause heart failure which is also another complication.
Stroke is a brain attack. This happens when our brain does not get enough supply of blood which contains oxygen and nutrients and cells of the brain (neurons) begins to die. Clot formation into the blood vessels of the brain also causes the stroke.
There are two types of stroke:
- Ischemic stroke
- Hemorrhagic stroke
Ischemic stroke occurs when the arteries of the brain which carry blood become blocked or narrowed. Ischemic stroke includes two types of stroke:
- Thrombotic stroke
- Embolic stroke
Thrombotic stroke means the formation of a thrombus (blood clot) into arteries of a brain which carry blood to the brain. This happens when plaque is formed on the wall of arteries and makes arteries narrower. The blood cells which flows into these arteries get together at one place and forms blood clots. These clots do not allow blood to pass through these arteries to the brain which causes a thrombotic stroke.
An embolic stroke occurs when a blood clot and debris from another location of circulatory systems, usually the heart and large arteries of neck and chest. They travel through the bloodstream from larger arteries to smaller arteries of the brain and get lodged there, where do not allow blood to pass through to brain and cause the embolic stroke.
This stroke occurs when a blood vessel in your brain get rupture or break which cause leakage or bleeding into the brain. The focus of treatment is on to control bleeding or reduce the pressure on the brain’s blood vessels.
The cause can be high blood pressure, seizures and the weak spot on blood vessels. There are two types of hemorrhagic stroke happens:
- Intracerebral stroke
- Subarachnoid stroke
This happens when blood vessels burst inside or within the brain which causes bleeding inside the brain. Due to bleeding, brain’s cell begins to die and leads to trauma where a person gets numbness, not able to speak or walk.
This happens when blood vessels burst into the space between brain and tissue covering the brain or two membranes that surround the brain. This is sudden and may lead to permanent damage to the brain or death if not treated immediately.
A heart attack has occurred when coronary arteries get narrower and do not carry adequate blood to pump out. This happens when our cholesterol level increases and form plaque on the wall of arteries. So that arteries are not capable to carry enough blood to the heart. At the last, heart cells begin to die as they have lack of oxygen supply. To get more about heart attack click on this page.
This is another complication that can turn deadly or leads to death. Pulmonary means our lungs and same complication as stroke. In the stroke, the blood vessel gets damage which supplies the blood to the brain and in pulmonary, blood vessel gets block or damage due to clot, which supplies the blood to lungs. This condition leads to symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain when breath and skin get bluish as not get enough oxygen.
Peripheral artery disease:
This occurs when a coronary artery gets narrower due to plaque formation, the flow of blood becomes reduced. So as a result, coronary arteries which supply the blood to legs and arms do not get enough blood flow and leads to symptom such as severe leg and arm pain when walking and doing hand works.
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