Let us first understand how the heart functions. For starters think of a car, without the engine the car won’t move unless pushed in neutral but the engine is still not working at all. Well, the body can’t work at all if the heart isn’t working=dead. Right? We can’t live without the heart but more importantly you can’t function actively and productively with one that is diseased and not being cared for or just severely diseased. We need to take good care of our bodies especially if diseased already, that includes your heart especially (the organ the allows the human body to live).
Looking at the anatomy and physiology of the heart it will help you understand in how it functions with how cardiac disease affects it. For starters the heart is like the engine of the human body based on its characteristics. This organ is just like a car in that the human body would not function without its engine.
The heart’s anatomy, in this organ you have chambers (2 on the top called atriums and 2 on the bottom called ventricles), 4 chambers to be exact (sort of like a 4 cylinder car). It also has valves which allows our blood to go in and out of the chambers and vessels of the heart. That is what makes blood move throughout the circulatory system starting from the heart down the abdomen to the arms, than the legs/feet back up to the brain to the heart again. These valves are located before the entrance of the blood entering the heart on right upper chamber, between the upper and lower chambers (atriums & ventricles), at the beginning of arteries and veins involved in moving blood throughout the heart and to or from the lungs to do one major function in keeping all tissue alive in exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide from the tissues. Lastly, in our veins the legs have valves to push blood back up to the heart because this blood that had high oxygen cells carried by our red blood cells are not filled with mostly oxygen but with carbon dioxide. When this blood is pushed up in the legs through the veins by valves allowing the blood to return to the heart with more carbon dioxide in the blood this is done to allow the blood to get to the lungs for more oxygen and carbon dioxide to be released (like oil/gas entering the car first in the tank and used throughout the engine and leaves the muffler out the tail pipe (the car’s lungs). Oxygen is our gas to the body tissues; without it we couldn’t survive but to get it we have to breath to allow oxygen and carbon dioxide to go in and out of our red blood cells at the bases of the lungs. This is where the red blood cells pass by in the circulatory system for this transfer of O2 and CO2 to take place. For this to take place it is when we breath; which is allowing 02 in the body to our tissues by the red blood cell that carries 02 to our tissues and tissues releasing carbon dioxide (end product of oxygen used in tissues) transferred over to our red blood cells carried back to the lungs in where the carbon dioxide is released from the cell and removed through the lungs on expiration.
- First take our blood, in particular our red blood cells are the cells that carry oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout our body; the body without enough oxygen in the body tissues=cellular starvation. We can’t survive without oxygen sent to our tissues=food to our tissues (Ex. poor circulation to any tissue of the body = pain and if not resolved it will go into necrosis = death of the tissue, like in a diabetic that has poor circulation to the toes/foot that has pain/numbness and unresolved = necrosis to amputation. So your blood, in particular the red blood cells, need to transport oxygen (O2) to and take carbon dioxide (CO2) from our tissues in the body and refill up with more 02 and release C02 (O2 used up by our tissues) which takes place at the lungs. This process is done constantly in the body to feed our tissues O2 (by the red blood cells-RBC’s picking up 02 upon inhalation) with tissues releasing CO2 which is picked up by the RBC’s at all tissues of our body and they take that CO2 to the lungs in releasing it from our body completely via exhaling. This whole process is only done due to the heart beating allowing the blood to circulate and recirculate throughout the body and allowing this O2/C02 process from the lungs to even take place by pumping RBC’s throughout the body through the circulatory system (just like the engine of a car in how the engine works to allow fuels, oils to circulate throughout the engine and other areas of the car to allow the car overall to function but for it to happen the engine has to be on pumping the transmission and oil throughout its system to allow these oils to be utilizes. When the gas gets low we refill it up at the gas station with more car gas. For the human body we fill up by breathing allowing the gas we need to run on, being oxygen, but at the sametime allowing the toxic gas out of our body being what we call carbon dioxide via expiration. Turn in tomorrow for Part 2 of this article on the anatomy and physiology of the heart and to prepare for Monday’s article on Rapid Ventricular Rate and Atrial Fibrillation with how both affect the heart in its function.