The Anatomy Of The Human Heart

The article contains an in-depth study of the human heart. It's structures, functions and connections. The article is very good for research topics.

The study of the human heart

The human body system ought to have been added to the list of the wonders of the world, owing to its powerful, complex, and often super sophisticated working mechanisms and the mind-blowing interconnections among the internal settings of the human body, the carefully and well-organized Individual and joint operations of the cells, the tissues, the organs, and even the entire body system as a whole.

The workability of the human body will continually remain a great source of mystery to the world of medical science and the entire human race as well. Having millions and billions of cells functioning together to ensure continuity of life and ensure sweet and smooth flow of existence. The human body though very fragile and delicate, remains one of the most complex and sophisticatedly built biological machines with a multiplex working system. Built into this powerful system is the engine room or powerhouse known as the heart, responsible for carrying out some of the essential duties of the body, which include pumping and supplying the blood, an essential fluid in the human body involved in the purification of body and the to and fro transportation of essential nutrient to different locations in the body.

Studying this powerful compartment in the human body, including the location, structure, functions, problems and solutions, and health care, one will discover many great and amazing things about the human heart and its essentiality in the continuity of life.

The location of the human heart:

The human heart is always positioned in front of the chest and slightly fitted behind the breast bone (sternum) to its left side. Also, the heart is located between the left and right lungs (the left lung is smaller than the right lung to create space for the heart), and it's surrounded by a double membrane called the pericardium like a sac.

The heart's structure :

The human heart possesses structures just like a building; these structures include; walls, Chambers, blood vessels, and electrical conduction systems.

The walls: 

These are various muscles involved in contraction and relaxation to send out blood throughout the body. The heart walls are divided into left and right sides by the septum. The heart walls have three layers which are:

  • Endocadium- the inner layer which makes up the four chambers and valves in the heart.
  • The myocardium- is the muscular middle layer that contracts and relaxes to pump blood around the body.
  • Epicardium- a protective outer layer and one layer of the pericardium, it produces fluid to lubricate the heart and keep it from rubbing other organs.

The chambers

The heart is a four-chambered organ made up of two top chambers(atriums, atria in plural) and two bottom chambers(ventricles), one on either side of the heart. These chambers are separated by the atrioventricular valves(tricuspid valve on the left and the bicuspid or mitral valve on the right).

  • Right atrium: oxygen-poor blood is supplied to the right atrium by the two large veins, the superior vena cava(which carries blood from your upper body) and the inferior vena cava(which carries blood from the lower body). The right atrium pumps blood to the right ventricle through the tricuspid valve.
  • Right ventricle: through the pulmonary artery route, the lower right chamber pumps deoxygenated blood to the lungs, where it is reloaded with oxygen.
  • Left atrium: after the blood is reloaded with oxygen, it is taken to the left atrium through the pulmonary vein. The upper chamber now pumps blood to the left ventricle through the bicuspid or mitral valve.
  • Left ventricle: It is slightly larger than the right ventricle and pumps oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.

The heart valves: 

These are the doorways between the heart chambers, opening and closing during heartbeats to allow blood flow. Atrioventricular(AV) valves open up between your upper and lower heart chambers and control the direction of blood flow, allowing it to flow in one direction only; the valves include:

  • Tricuspid valve: this is the doorway between the right atrium and left ventricle. 
  • Mitral valve: the doorway between the left atrium and left ventricle.

N.B - the semilunar valves opens up when blood flows out of the ventricles.

  • Aortic valve: opens up when blood flows out of your left ventricle to your aorta(the artery that carries oxygenated blood to your body). 
  • The pulmonary valve opens when blood flows from your right ventricle to your pulmonary arteries(the only artery that carries deoxygenated blood to your lungs). 

The Blood vessels:

These include these include the following:

  • Arteries: carries oxygenated blood from the heart to your body tissues, except the pulmonary artery, which carries deoxygenated blood to your lungs.
  • Veins: carry deoxygenated blood back to your heart.
  • Capillaries: small blood vessels where your body exchanges oxygenated and deoxygenated blood.

The heart receives nutrients from the network of coronary arteries, which runs along the heart surfaces, serving the heart itself.

The process of oxygenation of the blood

The blood flows through the heart into the lungs for reoxygenation and receives it back for distribution through the following processes: 

  1. The right atrium receives deoxygenated blood that has traveled round the body and sends it to the right ventricle.
  2. The right ventricle sends the deoxygenated blood to the lungs for reloading of oxygen.
  3. The left atrium receives the deoxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it to the left ventricle.
  4. The left ventricle pumps the reoxygenated blood to the rest of the body.

The electrical conduction system: 

This is just like the electrical wiring of a house; it controls the rhythm and pace of heartbeat; the wiring includes:

  • Sinoatrial(SA) node: sends the signals that make your heartbeat.
  • Atrioventricular(AV) node: carries electrical signals from the heart's upper chambers to its lower ones.

The heart also possesses a network of electrical bundles and fibers, which includes: 

  • Left bundle branch: sends electrical impulses to your left ventricle.
  • Right bundle branch: sends electrical impulses to your right ventricle.
  • Bundle of H.i.s: sends impulses from the AV node to the Purkinje fibers.
  • Purkinje fibers: makes your blood ventricles contract and relax to pump out blood.

The blood pressure 

This is the measurement of the pressure within the arteries. The blood has to be under pressure to be able to circulate around the body.

The blood pressure is affected by three major things

  1. The hearts pumping action
  2. Size and stretchiness of your blood vessels
  3. Blood thickness itself.

The heartbeat is a single circle in which the heart contracts and relaxes to pump blood. The normal heartbeat is approximately 60 to 100 times per minute and can increase due to exercise.

The pumping circle of the heart includes two phases: 

  • Systole: occurs during contraction of the heart, which pushes blood out of the chambers.
  • Diastole: this is the period between contractions when the muscles of the heart(myocardium) relax, and the chambers are filled with blood.

Functions of the heart:

  1. Pumps and moves blood throughout the entire body
  2. Controls the rhythm and speed of your heart rate
  3. Maintains your blood pressure

Relationship between the heart and other organs

The heart partners with other body systems to regulate heart rate and other body functions; the systems include :/

  1. Nervous systems: these help control your heart rates by sending signals to the heart, telling it to either be slower during rest or faster during stress.
  2. Endocrine systems: releases hormones that tell your blood vessels to contract or relax; the thyroid gland hormones can also tell your heart to beat faster or slower.

Heart conditions or problems

  1. Coronary heart diseases( heart attack and angina)
  2. Congenital heart diseases
  3. Inherited heart conditions 
  4. Stroke
  5. Vascular dementia
  6. Diabetes

Health risks to the heart and cardiovascular system

Here are some practices or situations that increase the chances of developing heart problems

  1. Poorly managed diabetes 
  2. High blood pressure
  3. High level of cholesterol
  4. Overweight or obesity
  5. Smoking 
  6. Excessive alcohol

Health care tips or practices for the heart

  • Obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight
  • A healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Regular exercise 
  • Reduced sodium intake
  • Good stress management
  • Quit smoking or using tobacco products.
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