As you can imagine, the heart is one of the most important organs to be able to be alive and, also, to enjoy a good quality of life. In fact, of all the organs of the body, the heart is one of the most essential for the human being, since without it would be impossible for the body to function properly and, of course, we could live.
However, could you tell how it works and what is the function of the heart in preserving life? Keep reading and we will tell you.
How the heart works – for kids
The heart is an organ present in most animals. It is an internal muscle, and its main function is to keep the blood moving in the body. Blood is the most abundant fluid in animals. This fluid is what is responsible for transporting both water and other nutrients to each cell of the body. Among these nutrients, it is worth highlighting oxygen, which is the main source of energy that the cells of animals feed on.
In fact, when we breathe, what we do is absorb oxygen in our lungs, where the blood, specifically the red blood cells present in it, take in oxygen and leave CO2 behind. Next, the blood flows through the arteries and reaches the different parts of the body, where it releases oxygen so that the cells can breathe, absorbs the CO2 resulting from cellular respiration and carries it back to the lungs, where the cycle is Repeat again.
However, when we say that “the blood carries oxygen and CO2”, we are not being entirely fair. Since, although it is the blood where these nutrients are found, in reality, it is the heart that is responsible for moving the blood. That is, if it weren’t for the heart, the blood would remain stagnant inside the veins and arteries. However, thanks to the movements of the heart, blood moves through the interior of the body just as water does through the interior of the pipes.
How does the heart work
The first thing to keep in mind is that, although all hearts are muscles that perform the same function of keeping the blood moving in the body, each animal has its own characteristics . In fact, we can even find animals that have several hearts, for example octopuses, which have three hearts. Or animals that lack a heart, such as insects, that pump their blood through lymph nodes instead of a cardiac system. In this way, each heart will function in a particular way according to the species to which we are referring.
In the case of humans, the heart is located inside the rib cage, between the lungs and slightly tilted to the left. In fact, if we place our hand in this place, we will notice the continuous beating of the heart. These beats are the movements that the heart makes to pump blood.
Parts of the heart
But to know what function the heart plays, we must first know its parts. The heart has two sides, each with an atrium and a ventricle. In general terms, it can be said that the atria are the first bag where the blood reaches the heart. From there, it passes to the ventricles, which would be a kind of larger and more powerful bags that, when filled with blood, the muscle contracts and exerts pressure on the bag. In this way, the blood is pumped through the arteries and veins and is sent to the different places in the body where it is needed.
The fact that the heart has two sides is not by chance, since oxygenated blood and blood that is not oxygenated cannot be joined. In this way, the right heart receives non-oxygenated blood from the veins and sends it to the lungs to be oxygenated. In contrast, the left heart receives the freshly oxygenated blood from the lungs and sends it throughout the body through the arteries. Thus, the cycle allows the cells to receive the oxygen and nutrients necessary to live and, as a whole, they make us alive.
How to care for and strengthen the heart
Since the heart is so important, it is essential that you take care of it from a young age and on a daily basis. To protect the heart, the best thing to do is to adapt a series of healthy lifestyle habits.
Goodbye to tobacco and cholesterol
First of all, we must bear in mind that what we put into our body will affect the heart. Two good examples of them are cholesterol and tobacco. These substances adversely affect our heart by hardening the veins and arteries, forcing the heart to work harder. In addition, by having harder veins and arteries, it will be easier for us to suffer a cardiovascular accident, that is, a rupture of the wall of these veins or arteries, which is one of the main causes of death in the Western world.
To avoid this, the best we can do is completely avoid tobacco and environments with smokers, as well as foods that contain cholesterol (red meat, sausages, fried, vegetable oils such as palm or coconut, etc.), and replace them with foods that are beneficial for our heart.
Likewise, it is also essential to perform aerobic exercise on a regular basis. We cannot forget that the heart is a muscle, which means that, by exercising it, it will be stronger and in better condition. For this, it is essential that the exercise is appropriate to our capacity and age, as well as moderate but constant. In this sense, activities such as walking, running, swimming or dancing are perfect to protect our hearts.
On the other hand, if you have any questions regarding your cardiovascular health, don’t forget that the person who can best advise you taking into account your personal characteristics and your medical history will be your own family doctor. Do not hesitate to ask him any questions you may have about it, and, if you want to be completely sure, ask him to do some tests in which you can check the status of cholesterol and other important elements for your cardiovascular health.