We know knowledge is power, and you can help prevent heart disease by learning about your heart. Your heart is directly involved in supplying all your organs with the oxygen they need to function properly.
If you develop heart disease, your heart is no longer able to perform its primary function with the same efficiency, and this is why it’s so important to take good care of your heart.
Learning more about the anatomy and functions of your heart can help you understand not only the role it plays in your overall well-being but also how you can take better care of it to avoid heart disease and the health challenges associated with it.
Functions of the Heart
Every day, if your heart is functioning properly, it pumps approximately 2,000 gallons of blood throughout your body. Your heart is a key component in keeping your blood cells oxygenated and delivering this oxygenated blood throughout your body.
Your cells cannot perform their regular functions without oxygen. Oxygen fuels cellular respiration, which is the process where your cells use oxygen to break down nutrients into energy and waste. The waste is discarded, and the resulting energy is used as fuel for your body.
Because oxygen is such an integral part of your cells’ regular functions, it’s necessary for your body to ensure a constant supply of oxygen is reaching your cells at all times. This is accomplished by oxygenating your blood.
Your heart doesn’t supply this oxygen itself, but it does facilitate oxygenation by pumping deoxygenated blood into your lungs.
Once blood has been oxygenated, it moves from your lungs back into your heart. Then it has to reach the rest of your body. Your heart pumps this blood through your arteries, and your arteries carry it to organs and tissues throughout your body. Contractions, known as heartbeats, push blood through your circulatory system.
Once the oxygen is used up, blood returns to your heart to be oxygenated once again, and the entire process is repeated.
Anatomy of the Heart
Your heart is a complex organ made up of a series of chambers, valves, and tissues, and each part of that organ is involved in circulating blood throughout your body. Damage to any of these components of your heart can jeopardize your health.
Your heart consists of four chambers. You have left and right atria located in the upper area of your heart and left and right ventricles in your lower area. The left and right sides are separated by a muscle wall known as the septum.
Blood enters your heart through the atria from your veins. It passes from the atria into the ventricles, which then pump the blood out of your heart.
The atria are thinner than the ventricles as not as much force is needed to transfer blood between the chambers of your heart. More force is needed to pump blood out through your arteries.
The right atrium receives deoxygenated blood and passes it through to your pulmonary system via the right ventricle. Your left atrium receives oxygenated blood from your lungs, which is then pumped out from your left ventricle to the rest of your body.
Heart valves control the flow of blood through your heart ensuring everything continuously moves in the right direction.
Atrioventricular valves, also known as cuspid valves, are located between the atria and the ventricles. They close as the ventricles contract, preventing blood from flowing backward into the atria once it has passed into the ventricles.
Your heart also contains semilunar valves, which are located near the bases of the ventricles. These valves close and the ventricles relax; these actions keep blood from flowing back into the ventricles after it’s been pumped out into your circulatory system.
Your heart is connected to many different blood vessels that carry blood to and from different cells and organs. These include both veins and arteries. While your veins bring deoxygenated blood back to your heart, your arteries pump oxygenated blood out of your heart and through your body.
Your largest artery, the aorta, brings blood to many different areas through smaller branches. You also have the superior and inferior vena cava, which bring deoxygenated blood back to the heart from your upper and lower body, respectively. Your pulmonary artery and veins carry blood between your heart and lungs.
Your heart needs oxygenated blood to function too. This oxygenated blood is supplied by the coronary arteries.
How Heart Disease Interferes With These Functions
Now that we’ve discussed how your heart is designed to function and is supposed to function, let’s talk about how heart disease interferes with the regular function of your heart. This happens as a result of heart disease because blood flow is restricted. Plaque builds up in your arteries, causing them to narrow, and this limits how much blood can pass through them.
Without proper oxygenation in your heart and other parts of your body, your cells won’t have the energy they need to function properly. This can eventually result in a major heart event like a heart attack.
Improving Your Health Through Heart Disease Treatment
Thankfully, there are many ways to keep your heart healthy and prevent heart disease. Common heart disease treatments include following a heart-healthy diet, quitting smoking, and engaging in regular exercise.
Properly caring for your heart allows it to function efficiently. The more heart-healthy choices you make, the easier it is for your heart to continue to oxygenate and circulate blood as it’s designed to do. This will help you maintain good health and keep you active for years to come. Learning about your heart can be a wonderful first step to preventing heart disease.
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
I’m author, health coach, and entrepreneur Cheryl A Major, and I would love to connect with you! If you’re new to the world of creating better health, both mental and physical for yourself, please check out my training on how to get gluten out of your diet. Please follow me on Twitter and on YouTube to enjoy all the information I share every day.