Two parts of body namely brain and heart are more important as compared to other parts. Just like brain heart is the central part of human activity. It ensures and governs the constant process of breathing. One can live with a malfunctioning brain but living with an inactive or paralyzed heart is barely possible. Heart is the pump that pushes life that is blood into the arteries and receives dirty or deoxygenated blood from the veins. Heart is the organ that keeps our day to day life healthy by soothing our body.
Before looking at the various heart diseases it would be better if we can focus on the heart first. What is a heart and how does it functions? What are the parts of hearts and which function they perform? Let us sort the questions out in following text.
Functioning of the heart
Slightly larger than one’s closed fist, heart is a very powerful muscle. The function of a heart is similar to a powerful pump. It pumps oxygenated blood in to every nook and corner of the body. Blood saturated with nutrients of food and oxygen of lungs are pushed to every cell of the body to ensure absolute survival.
On average the heart beats about 100000 times in a day. Heart is the only organ that is responsible for pumping 4300 gallons of blood throughout the human body. To illustrate the function of heart, let us throw some light on the flow of blood.
The flow of blood
Primarily the heart is divided into two sides: the left side and the right side. Each side is further composed of two chambers: the upper chamber is atrium where the lower chamber is ventricle.
Blood from the body is brought back to the heart by veins or vessels that have valves to stop the back flow of blood. This blood is filled with carbon dioxide and cellular waste products. The blood enters into the right atrium from where it moves to the right ventricle from where heart pumps it to lungs to get refreshed by fresh supply of oxygen and to get rid of waste products.
From lungs the oxygen-rich blood comes back to the left ventricle. The next stage is of the pumping of blood into the aorta. The left ventricle performs the function of pumping blood. To small arteries the aorta sends blood and these arteries carry blood to the rest of the body.
The aorta is divided into right and left coronary that are further divided into smaller branches. Heart can not work properly if the blood carried to the heart is not well-nourished with oxygen. Heart is surrounded by the coronary arties that carry blood to nourish it. Blood is supplied to the back and the right side of the heart by the right coronary. There are two branches of the left coronary arties: the circumflex and the left anterior descending. The two parts are combined in taking blood to the left side of the heart.
The function of a heart valves is to maintain the flow in one direction. Heart has four valves where all of them are in same direction to keep the blood moving throw different heart chambers.
- In the left side of the heart, the mitral valve situates between the atrium and the ventricle. The valve ensures that the blood flows from atrium to the ventricle and not in the backward direction. The mitral valve has small cords attached to the ventricles’ walls that help in supporting the small flaps or leaflets of the valve.
- The semi-lunar valve is the aorta valve that has three parts that are used for avoiding the return of blood from aorta to left ventricle. The valve looks like a ping pong ball. The left side valves bear excessive pressure. Due to hard work, they get hard at times or become thick, stiff, or sometimes leak or wear out.
- At the junction of pulmonary artery and right ventricle pulmonary valve is located. At the contraction of right valve the pulmonary valve opens up and forces the blood into artery that takes blood to the lungs. The valve is also a semi-lunar. At the relaxation of the chamber the valve closes to prevent the flow of blood in reverse direction.
- The fourth valve is the tricuspid valve that exists between the lower and the upper chamber in the right side of the heart. It is present in the corresponding position of the mitral valve that is in the left side of the heart.
In United States, a number of heart diseases are a leading cause of death. One in every four deaths is due to heart disease in United States. Each year about 630000 Americans die each year only in United States.
Heart disease is a term that is referred to a number of heart conditions. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease that can lead to heart attack, commonly found in United States. Through change in life style and proper medication risks of CAD can widely reduced.
Other diseases can occur due to the problems with the valve or the pumping function of the heart that can even result in the failure of heart. It is interesting to know that heart disease can be acquired by birth. Decreasing the use of cholesterol, controlling blood pressure, quitting smoking in addition to exercise can be very helpful to reduce the risk factor of availing heart diseases.
Most of the people consider that heart disease is an issue for other people, although it is very difficult to estimate who will be the victim of heart disease (and why) and who not. In United States heart disease is the greatest cause of death per year. It not only becomes a cause of death but also a number of disabilities.