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Understand how your heart works!

Author: FITivate | Published date: November 22, 2021 | Category: Medical
how the heart works

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Our heart is at the centre of our health, it nourishes every part of our body with oxygen, as such, it is of utmost importance that we must protect and strengthen this organ of ours and live a lifestyle that enables it to thrive.

The heart is a muscular organ and acts as a pump to circulate blood all around the body. It is located center-left of your chest and is the workhorse of the body, functioning 24 hours, 365 days non-stop.

What is blood?

The blood is made up of 4 components, namely plasma, red, white blood cells and platelets. The red blood cells mainly transport oxygen from the lungs to the cells, tissues and organs and help to carry carbon dioxide (by-product) to the lungs for it to be expelled from the body when we breathe out. White blood cells help with the immune function while platelets assist in wound healing through forming blood clots on open wounds (1).

So how does the heart work?

Pumping De-oxygenated blood to the lungs

After oxygen is being used up by the various parts of the body, oxygen-depleted blood will return back to the heart and fills up the right side of the heart, which consist of the right atrium and right ventricle. The blood is then pumped through the pulmonary arteries into the lungs, which refreshes the blood with oxygen.

Pumping oxygenated blood to the body

Oxygen rich blood or red blood then enters the left side of the heart from the lungs, which consists of the left atrium and left ventricle. It is then pumped through the aorta to the rest of the body. This process will be self-repetitive.

General Movements of the Heart

There are 2 general movements in the heart known as systole and diastole.

Systole basically is the heart contracting, pumping the blood out to the lungs and to the rest of the body.

Diastole is when the heart relaxes, as it fills up with blood ready to be pumped out.

Your heart is also supplied with blood and has a series of intricate blood vessels known as coronary arteries enveloped over it (2).

The heart beats in a rhythmic and normal manner due to the electrical impulses supplied to it. The heart pumps about 4.7 liters of blood every minute and beats about 100,000 times per day, which is about 35 million times in a year!

Read more : Exercises to strengthen the heart 

By : Alvin Ho

B (Eng), MBA, Certified Allied Healthcare/Fitness Professional (EIMS), Master Fitness Trainer / Fitness Nutrition, Resistance & Endurance Training Specialist (NFPT)

By : Dr Chen Yiming

Family Physician, MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (NUS), GDFP Dermatology (NUS)

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