Many people say that because they are not scientists, the functions of the heart are of no importance to them. However, the heart is what is responsible for pumping blood around our body and if the heart fails to do so, the entire system loses life. The heart does not only pump blood but has other functions in the circulatory system and this is what this article seeks to explain.
What this article seeks to do is to elaborate on and explain functions of the heart; how the heart works, part of the heart and their functions and what actually are the main functions of the human heart.
How the heart works
The heart is a muscular organ which is rough in size and looks like a closed fist. The main function of the human heart is to pump blood around the human body and the heart can be seen at the centre left side of the chest. The heart also carries deoxygenated blood to our lungs, loads up oxygen and unloads carbon dioxide as a waste product of the metabolism. Now let's look at how the heart works in the circulatory system: The circulatory system consists of the heart, blood, and blood vessels. The average amount of blood which is pumped into the body is around 5 litres which are ( 8 pints ).
The heart works from its left and right sides in unison. The part of the heart that receives the deoxygenated blood and sends it to the lungs is the right side of the heart while the left side of the heart is responsible for receiving blood from the lungs and pumping it to the rest of the body. To the right side of the human heart, there is the right atrium which receives deoxygenated blood from the body through the veins called the superior and inferior vena cava (the largest veins in the body). To the left of the heart, there is the newly oxygenated blood returning to the left atrium through the pulmonary vein.
This return makes the left atrium to contract, and push blood into the left ventricle which pushes back the blood out of the heart to other parts of the body through the aorta. The right atrium which does the contraction and passing of blood to the right ventricle and contracts back to pump the blood through the lungs ensures the flow of blood through the pulmonary artery which picks oxygen and offloads carbon dioxide.
There are two systems that take place in the heart to ensure that it works as it was designed to. They are the diastole and the systole. The balance between these two phases is what determines the blood pressure of the heart.
The diastole occurs when the muscles of the heart relax in order for the heart to be filled with blood. When this happens, the pressure in the heart decreases.
The systole occurs when the heart muscles contract to pump blood into the large blood vessels of the circulatory system. As the heart goes through the systolic phase, blood pressure in the heart increases.
The diastole consists of the atria and ventricles which relax and do the filling of the heart with blood and the systole consists of the atrial systole which contracts and pushes blood into the ventricles. Then, as the atria start to relax, the ventricular systole happens and blood is pumped out of the heart. Oxygen travels into the capillaries, and carbon dioxide travels from the capillaries into the air sacs, where it is breathed out into the atmosphere. This happens when blood is sent through the pulmonary artery to the lungs and then travels through tiny capillaries on the surface of the lungs' alveoli. Also, the coronary arteries on the surface of the heart which are fed by the muscles of the heart receive oxygenated blood.
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Parts of heart and their function
Below are the parts of the heart also known as the chambers of the heart:
- Atria: These are the two upper chambers responsible for receiving blood.
- Ventricles: These are the two lower chambers responsible for discharging blood.
The left atrium and the left ventricle are separated from the right atrium and the right ventricle by a wall of muscle called the septum. The wall of the heart consists of three layers of tissue covered in a thin protective coating called the pericardium. These tissues are:
- The epicardium is the protective layer largely comprising of the connective tissues.
- The myocardium is the muscle of the heart.
- The endocardium protects the valves and chambers by lining the inside of the heart.
Talking of the functions of the heart, how the heart works, and the main functions of the heart, we believe that most of your questions have been answered in this article. You can leave your comments below after reading this article and also share with friends.