The heart, which is the main organ of the cardiovascular system, is responsible for the life of every person. Know how it works and why it is important to be cared for.
The Cardiovascular System
The heart is one of the most important organs that transport oxygen, nutrients, hormones and heat to every cell in the body. The heart also removes CO2, metabolic wastes and excess heat from every cell of the body. Using pumps as a way of doing the said processes, the heart has 4 chambers that contain the blood. The other 2 chambers are called the left and right Atrium. The left and right ventricle is divided by a wall called the septum. This wall has an opening called the foramen ovalis, which enables the blood to pass through from the right ventricle to the left without the need of passing through the lungs. Above the two chambers, we can find the right and left atrium which is divided by valves. The right contains the tricuspid valve and the left chamber holds the mitral valve. The entering blood passes through the pulmonary veins, and the superior and inferior vena cavae.
The pulmonary vein brings blood from the lungs, as the name implies. The superior and inferior vena cavae drain the blood from the arms, head, neck, and thorax. When the atrium receives the blood, it forces the blood to go to the ventricles. The valves remain open to ensure a continuous flow or movement of blood from the veins through the atria into the ventricles. As the ventricles fill with blood, the tricuspid and the mitral valves begin to close. The muscles of the atria begin to contract to force all the blood in it into the ventricles. For a brief or short time the atria has no blood, since the pressure within them is greater than the pressure in the veins delivering the blood. As the Ventricles are filled with blood, they begin to expand or swell, and then a wave of contraction begins to take place.
Beginning from the lower or apex of the heart, it moves its way to the atria. In the process, the contraction forces the atrioventricular valves to close, and then forces the blood out of the ventricles into either the aorta or the pulmonary artery. The blood from the right ventricle goes to the pulmonary artery and exchanges its CO2 into Oxygen.
The blood which has fresh oxygen in it returns to the heart entering the left ventricle. When it finds it way inside the left atria, it then goes to the left ventricle, passing through the mitral valve and now forced to enter the aorta. The aorta then delivers blood all over the body except the lungs, which has its own job of replenishing the oxygen content of the blood before circulation. In order to contain the blood without swelling to a great degree, the lower edges of the valves anchor to the chorda tendinea, a tendon.
The lower edges of the said tendons are attached to the papillary muscles found in the walls of the ventricles. The atrioventricular valves are then prevented from bulging to any great degree as the ventricles contract. When the blood leaves the ventricle, passes through the semilunar valve in to the pulmonary artery. These valves are fixed on to the side of the artery which closes when pressure in the ventricles is lowered to prevent blood from the pulmonary artery to find its way back to the ventricles. A similar valve is also mounted on to the sides of the aorta, which has basically the same job.
The Relation of the Cardiovascular System to the Nervous System
Your heart and blood vessels are connected to the brain, the central nervous system. The vagus nerve and the autonomic nervous system are major attachments. The vagus nerve, one of the twelve cranial nerves, extends from the brainstem to the abdomen via the different organs including the heart, lungs and esophagus. The vagus is part of the involuntary nervous system, one of the important functions of which, is to command unconscious body procedures, including keeping the heart rate constant. The autonomic nervous system regulates the functions of our internal organs such as the heart, stomach and intestines. It is responsible for involuntary and reflexive functions such as changing the size of the blood vessels or making the heart beat faster. These nerves control heat rate and blood pressure, two essential factors for a healthy heart.
The goal of chiropractic care goal is to have a healthy nervous system. The positive impact of chiropractic care to the heart is tremendous and obvious. Chiropractic care benefits not just your heart, but practically all your systems and organs since the nervous system where chiropractic is anchored in, touches every cell in your body. The nerves travel through the spine, which is why it is described as the communication pathway of the nervous system. An abnormality in the bones in your spine can cause symptoms and disease to occur in your body.
A regular chiropractic check is highly recommended not just by doctors of chiropractic but by the millions who have received the benefits of chiropractic care. It is good for your heart and your health.
Cardiovascular diseases refer to the diseases of the heart and blood vessel. It is also simply referred to as heart disease and includes several heart problems, majority of which are associated with atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis refers to the buildup of plaque substances in the artery walls, making the arteries narrow. The flow of blood in these arteries becomes restricted from the buildup of plaque. Blood clot can form and stop the flow of the blood. This can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
A heart attack happens when there is a clog in the artery that supplies blood to the heart from clotting. The portion of the heart muscle where the blood flow has stopped completely begins to deteriorate and die. Most heart attack patients will survive the first attack and are able to live for more productive years. It does not necessarily mean that you have to make some lifestyle changes. The doctor will give advice on the medications and the adjustments to your lifestyle based on the severity of the damage to the heart and the degree of the heart disease responsible for the heart attack. Medications called clotbusters are usually administered immediately after certain types of heart attacks. Coronary angioplasty and coronary artery bypass graft surgery are done when medications cannot fully treat the heart attack.
An ischemic stroke, usually considered the most common type of stroke, occurs when a blood vessel supplying the brain gets obstructed, often from a clotting of the blood. When the blood flows to a part of the brain is cut off, the brain cells will deteriorate and die. This will result in the patient’s inability to perform normal functions such as talking and walking. Another type of stroke, hemorrhagic stroke results from the bursting of a blood vessel in the brain. Uncontrolled hypertension is the most common cause for this type of stroke.
Stroke may lead to permanent disability especially when there are a lot of brain cells that die resulting from the lack of supply of oxygen and blood to the brain. Some brain cells though, do not die but only fail to function normally for a certain period of time. These injured cells are capable of repairing themselves. As time passes by, they can regain their normal functions after the repair process and allow improvements to the body functions. Another good news is that other brain cells may take charge over the areas in the brain that were damaged. Improvements in the patient’s strength, speech and memory may be gained. In this case, the process of recovery or rehabilitation of the stroke patient is a success. Medications, specifically clotbusters, must be given the stroke patient within three hours of the onset of the stroke symptom. Carotid endarterectomy, a surgical procedure to correct the narrowing of the arteries is another common treatment method for stroke.
Other Cardiovascular Diseases
Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure is a condition wherein the heart is not pumping blood efficiently. While the heart continues to perform its work of pumping blood, the body’s need for oxygen and blood is not being supplied. Heart failure should be treated with dispatch to prevent the deterioration of the condition and lead to more serious consequences.
Arrhythmia is an abnormal or unusual l rhythm of the heart. Abnormal beating of the heart can mean either beating too fast, too slow, or not the same as regular heartbeats. It is called bradycardia when its rate is slow – less than 60 beats per minute. When the heart rate is more than 100 beats per minute, it is called tachycardia. Arrhythmia has an effect on the efficiency of the heart in being able to pump blood to supply the body’s needs. Prescription medications, the use of pacemaker and cardiac defibrillation are the methods to treat arrhythmia.
There a few heart valve disorders. Stenosis is when the heart valves do not fully open to allow the normal flow of blood. The problem where the valves do not close properly and cause leak in the blood flow is called regurgitation. Doctors usually prescribe medications or heart valve surgery to address these problems with the heart valves.
You can be proactive and prevent cardiovascular diseases from adversely affecting your life. Have a regular heart check-up and follow your health care provider’s advice on lifestyle changes to boost your heart’s health and overall well-being.
The Role of Chiropractic Treatment
Chiropractic care has been proven effective in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases in the following ways:
- It lowers blood pressure. Studies have shown that blood pressure is improved with the chiropractic adjustments in the first vertebra called the Atlas.
- It improves nerve function of the heart. This is the autonomic tone, which impacts practically all parts of your body.
- It improves the variability of heart rate. Your life span is directly related to the variability in your heart rate.
- It decreases blood markers of inflammation. The risk of cardiovascular symptoms is directly related to the amount of inflammation.
- It decreases chest pain. Chest pain is mostly musculoskeletal in nature.
- It improves lung function. Patients with asthma and emphysema have benefitted from chiropractic care. Poor lung function has a strong link to heart failure.