THIS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR HEART.
Understanding the physiology and make up of the heart may help us consciously take care of it!
“Abuja, October 7, 2019 –
“My life has not been the same. Had it been I knew how awful it is to have a stroke, I would have been more cautious and protective of my health. I have lost my job and have not been able to secure another one all because I don’t walk and look like I used to.
I also get rejected everywhere I show up for an interview”, says Ms. Onyinye Iromba, a 34-year-old from Abia state who had stroke at the age of 30.
“It all started in 2015, when I woke up to ease myself around 3am in the morning and I just couldn’t move. I tried all possible ways but it seemed impossible, the best I could do was to make a phone call and seek for help.
I was rushed to the hospital and after 8 hours of running tests, the doctors confirmed I had a stroke due to high blood pressure, which I never knew I had.”
Cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and Mental Health Disorders—are the world’s biggest killers and have now been termed “a silent epidemic”.
Among these diseases, Cardiovascular diseases (CVD’s) are the number 1 cause of death accounting for 17.5 million deaths annually with high blood pressure being the leading risk factor.
CVDs are disorders of the heart plus blood vessels and they include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease and other conditions. Four out of five CVD deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes.
According to Dr Nnenna Ezeigwe, the National Coordinator for NCDs in the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), “CVD is a significant public health concern responsible for 11% of over 2 million NCD deaths in Nigeria annually.
It is also responsible for a high burden of morbidity and disability. Most people with CVDs are not aware until catastrophes like stroke, heart attack or death occur.”
“The economic burden of NCDs on families and Nigeria, in general, is significant because the cost of treatment is high, usually paid out of pocket and death is mostly premature, cutting victims at their prime of productivity.” She added.
The Nigerian government is deeply concerned and is taking measures to tackle the risk factors responsible through the implementation of the National Tobacco Control Act (NTC Act) 2015, promotion of physical activities and healthy diet among the populace. Government has also prioritized Universal Health Coverage to ensure families are not pushed into poverty in the event of CVD or other health conditions.
“Among these diseases, Cardiovascular diseases (CVD’s) are the number 1 cause of death accounting for 17.5 million death“
This post explains.
- Physiology of your cardiovascular system.
- The meaning of a heart disease and a heart attack ?
- Factors affecting the cardio system.
- Is heart disease reversible?
What Is the cardiovascular system?
The circulatory or cardiovascular system is responsible for the transport of oxygen, fluids electrolytes and products of metabolism through the blood to and from tissues.
The heart and the blood vessels make up the cardiovascular system. Together with blood it is the major transport system of the body, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the cells and removing wastes for disposal.
It serves as the systems pump, moving blood through the vessels to the tissues.
” The heart and the blood vessels make up the cardiovascular system. Together with blood it is the major transport system of the body, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the cells and removing wastes for disposal. “
The heart is a hollow, cone shaped organ about the size of a fist. it is located in the mediastinum, between the lungs and underlying the sternum.
It is enclosed by a double layer of fibroserous membrane known as the pericardium.
The parietal, or outermost, pericardium serves to protect the heart and anchor it to surrounding structures.
The visceral pericardium adheres to the surface of the heart, forming the hearts outermost layer, the epicardium.
The wall contains two additional layers, the myocardium, (cardiac muscles cells that form the bulk of the heart and contract with each beat).
And the endocardium which lines the inside of the heart’s chambers and great vessels.
Four hollow chambers within the heart, two upper atria and two lower ventricles, are separated longitudinally by the inter-ventricular septum, forming two parallel pumps.
The atria and ventricles are separated from one another by the atrioventricular (AV)valves.
The tricuspid valve on the right and the bicuspid or the mitral valve on the left.
The ventricles in turn are separated from the great vessels (the pulmonary arteries and aorta) by the semilunar valves (named so because of their crescent moon shape): the pulmonary (also known as the pulmonic) valve on the right and the aortic valve on the left.
The valve serves to direct the flow of blood, allowing it to move from the atria to the ventricles and the ventricles to the great vessels, but preventing back flow.
” The valve serves to direct the flow of blood, allowing it to move from the atria to the ventricles and the ventricles to the great vessels, but preventing back flow.”
The heart muscle moves the blood to the lungs and peripheral tissues but does not receive oxygen or nourishment from the blood within its chambers. Instead, it is supplied by a network of vessels called the coronary arteries.
These arteries originate at the base of the aorta branching out to encircle the and penetrate the myocardium.
During ventricular relaxation, the coronary arteries fill bringing oxygen rich blood to the myocardium.
When these arteries become obstructed by a blood clot, or clogged with plaques, the myocardium is deprived of oxygen and the person sometimes develops chest pain (angina) or experience what is known as a myocardial infarction (heart attack).
Deoxygenated blood from the veins enters them right side of heart through the superior and inferior venae cavae (singular is vena cava) from there it flows into the right ventricle, which pumps it through the pulmonary artery into the lungs for gas exchange across the alveolar- capillary membrane.
Freshly oxygenated blood returns to the left atrium through pulmonary veins. From here, the blood enters the left ventricle to be pumped out for systemic circulation through the aorta.
The cardiac veins drain the deoxygenated blood from the myocardium into the coronary sinus, which empties into the right atrium.
What is coronary heart disease?
Coronary heart disease—the blockages in the coronary arteries and reduced blood flow to the heart—is the end product of a chain of events that occur over a lifetime.
The heart pumps blood to feed itself through what are called coronary arteries. Oxygen is food for the heart, and it is carried in the blood.
Three major coronary arteries feed the heart. The right coronary artery feeds the right side of the heart. Two other coronary arteries feed the left side of the heart: the left anterior descending artery (which feeds the front of the heart) and the circumflex coronary artery (which curves around to feed the back of the heart).
These major coronary arteries branch into smaller ones farther downstream.
Until relatively recently, most of what we knew about heart disease was learned at the autopsy table, since tools were not available to observe and study the living heart.
When someone who died from a heart attack was autopsied, in most cases blockages were found in one or more of the coronary arteries, so these obstructions (also called plaque, atherosclerosis, or arteriosclerosis) were thought to be the main cause of chest pain and heart attacks.
On further analysis, these blockages were found to be comprised of cholesterol and other deposits. This was one of the first clues that dietary cholesterol played a role in causing the blockages to form.
Over time, plaque can build up inside the lining of the coronary arteries, somewhat like rust accumulating inside a pipe.
Studies of soldiers who were killed in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam indicated for example, we know that the arteries that supply the heart with blood can become progressively clogged over time with cholesterol and other deposits.
When these blockages become severe, the heart does not receive enough blood and it becomes starved for the oxygen carried in the blood.
If this deprivation is brief, the result is chest pain (angina); if prolonged, the part of the heart not receiving enough blood actually dies and turns into scar tissue. This is called a heart attack.
If the scar tissue is small, then the person may live. If a large part of the heart dies, or if the heart attack occurs in an important part of the heart (such as the pacemaker area, for example), then the person may not survive.
(Similarly, blockages in an artery that leads to the brain can cause a stroke, in which part of the brain dies from lack of blood flow.)
On one level, therefore, blockages in the coronary arteries lead to chest pain and heart attacks, and blockages in the brain’s arteries lead to strokes.
To address this level of disease, doctors began performing coronary artery bypass surgery over twenty-five years ago as a way of bringing more blood around the blocked arteries. In this procedure, a vein is taken from the patient’s leg and spliced around the obstructed artery, thereby increasing blood flow to the heart.
The bottom line is simply this: the heart becomes starved for the oxygen carried in the blood. if the oxygen deprivation is brief, then chest pain (angina) occurs; if prolonged for more than a few minutes, the result is a heart attack.
” The bottom line is simply this: the heart becomes starved for the oxygen carried in the blood. if the oxygen deprivation is brief, then chest pain (angina) occurs; if prolonged for more than a few minutes, the result is a heart attack.”
Factor Affecting Cardiovascular Function.
According to KOZIER & ERB’S many factors affect cardiovascular function some of these factors are called risk factors because if present, they increase the risk of cvd.
Coronary disease isn’t just one health problem. It’s actually made up of different issues that work either in isolation or together to damage your heart. It can include:
Blood cholesterol. When certain types of blood cholesterol are abnormal, the main arteries leading to the heart are more likely to become clogged.
High blood pressure. When your arteries become stiff and/or narrowed, the pressure inside them builds, which causes blood flow to become more turbulent.
End result: The lining of the arteries is more likely to become damaged.
Heart attack. This happens when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood through one or more of the blood vessels that feed the heart muscle. Interrupted blood flow to the heart can damage or destroy a part of the heart muscle.
Stroke. This is just like a heart attack, but it happens inside the brain. Arteries leading to the brain are narrowed or blocked and too little blood reaches it, causing some of your brain cells to die.
Heart failure. Heart failure occurs when a heart can’t pump enough blood to meet a body’s needs. This often happens after a heart attack, when the heart is too damaged to pump normally.
Is CARDIOVASCULAR Disease Reversible?
We cannot see our hearts, but we can feel them beating. How long this fist-sized muscle will continue to send blood and nutrients to all of the parts of your body depends on the fuel you feed it, as well as how well you care for all of your cells, tissues, and organs.
CVD’s are both preventable and reversible when identified early. Prevention can be accompanied by addressing the risk factors of tobacco use, unhealthy diet, obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol. They can be treated if people with the disease or at high risk due to having hypertension, diabetes or hyperlipidemia are identified early with their conditions appropriately managed.