Nestled in the chest between two lungs and protected by the ribs and breastbone, lies the heart.
This muscular organ about the size of your fist, collects the blood from the great veins. After pumping it through the lungs, it sends it out to all parts of the body to supply oxygen and other essential nutrients.
To accomplish this task, the average heart beats about 70 times/minute or approximately 100000 times/day, from birth to death. If it misses a beat by chance, one would be susceptible to dizziness and could slip into unconsciousness if nothing changes. Fortunately, the beats go on with little or no conscious help from you.
You do however need to take care of this vital organ if you wish to enjoy a long and healthy life.
HOW DOES THE HEART OPERATE?
The heart is a muscle pump with 4 compartments, and four one-way valves controlling the flow of Blood through these chambers. The right side of the heart receives the blood returning from the body, thence it moves to the right ventricle or pumping chamber, which pumps it into the lungs.
In the lungs, Carbon dioxide is removed and oxygen is added to the blood. The blood then returns to the left side of the heart and is collected in the upper left atrium chamber.
Afterwards, it flows through to the lower chamber, the left ventricle and is pumped from the rest of the body. This cycle is repeated at every heartbeat.
EXERCISE AND THE HEART
A regular exercise programme causes the heart and blood vessels to become more efficient so that the resting heart rate is slower and the heart does not speed up as much for any give amount of exercise.
Although, with strenuous exercise, the heart rate increases to supply more blood and oxygen to the working muscles.
A trained athlete may have a pulse as slow as 40-45 beats/minute at rest, whereas someone in poor physical condition may have a pulse of 80 or more. A slow pulse may occur with problems in the conduction system- if the impulse gets blocked in its pathway from the upper to the lower pumping chambers.
If the heart rate gets slow enough or if the heart stops for short rests from time to time, it may warrant having a pacemaker inserted into the heart to help control the rhythm.
Fast heart beating occurs normally in response to exercise, emotion, fever, blood loss amongst others. It can also occur from medical problems with the electrical system of the heart.
CARE OF THE HEART
You might have heard it before but one cannot but emphasize the need for the inclusion of fruits in one’s diet. Also, taking vegetables and cereals is an ideal choice. Stay away from fatty meats, shell fish and other dairy fats is advisable.
Limiting the sugars and alcohol in the diet is also helpful since they are turned into fats by the body, particularly if there is a tendency to be diabetic or overweight. Salt intake should also be limited to help control high blood pressure.
Regular vigorous exercise is a great help in keeping the heart and vascular system in good condition.
Another important factor to weigh in on is stress. We know that stress and worrying are damaging. So, worrying about your heart’s health is not going to improve it. Black don’t crack!!!!
A checkup now and then wouldn’t hurt too. Remember, our health is our wealth!!!
A balanced diet, adequate exercise, temperature habits, weight control and a happy frame of mind will considerably reduce your chances of ever having heart disease and will also lead you to a healthy happier you.