Matters of the heart
- POSTED ON: 10 Feb, 2024
- TOTAL VIEWS: 308 Views
- POSTED BY: Bhavya Venkatesh | Text: Rachna Chhabria
- ARTICLE POINTS: 150 Points
If I tell you that I’m one of the most fascinating organs of the human body, you may not believe me. I’m sure you will roll your eyes and think that I am being boastful. No, I’m not proud or pompous. Neither am I gloating. I’m a humble organ, who takes no credit in keeping you alive. Yes, you read right. I keep you alive.
I’m your heart. I work right from the time a baby is in the mother’s womb. Usually, a person whose heart stops beating is considered to be dead. On an average, an adult human heart beats 72 times a minute, which works out to nearly 100,000 times a day, 36 million times a year and 2.5 billion times to three billion times in a lifetime. I told you that I am hardworking.
I continue to beat even when a person is sleeping. In some cases, a person’s heart beats for more than 80 times a minute. For others, it can be less than 60 beats a minute. Did you know that, in a newborn, the heartbeat rate can range from 70 to 190 beats a minute?
When healthy, I weigh between 156 and 422 gm. In general, my average weight is around 300gm. My work is to pump blood throughout the body every single minute, every single day. That’s a lot of work because, in an adult body, that amounts to circulating five litres of blood continuously. I am proud to say that I don’t take holidays. Don’t get alarmed. That was a P.J.
When a person runs or exercises, I have to pump faster than normal — at least three to four times more. This is because every part of the body needs to get the oxygen and fuel that they need to allow them to workout.
Do you want to know how I work? My muscles contract and relax in an automatic cycle, which is the heart beat. When I beat, blood is pumped through the blood vessels. All the blood vessels, which form the circulatory system, are like elastic tubes that carry blood to all parts of the body. These are of two kinds: the arteries and the veins. The arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Are you wondering what oxygenated blood is? It means blood that has received oxygen from the lungs. The veins carry blood back to the heart and lungs so that they can get more oxygen. This then goes back to the arteries to be circulated in the body. To put it simply, veins carry blood towards the heart and the arteries carry it away. Did you know that the entire process of circulating blood from the heart across the body and back takes just 45 seconds? Isn’t that awesome?
I have a very organised system through which the circulatory system transfers oxygen, nutrients and hormones to the cells in the body and removes waste products like carbon dioxide. There are between 30 and 40 trillion cells in the body and all of them receive blood pumped by me. Sometimes I am completely in awe of all that I do. Modesty can go for a walk!
Now, given that I work so hard to keep you all going without a rest or break, is it fair to make me the face of silly and embarrassing emoticons? Especially that heart one for photos on social media? And saying things like “I’m heartbroken” or “My heart is singing”. I hate that heartbreak emoticon. Let’s be practical. If I collapse — or break, to use your lingo — you are doomed. Poets use me to write deeply emotional verses and movies feature me in their titles. Oh well! I guess all this unwanted and unnecessary attention comes with the territory.
Only one living part of the human body receives no blood supply from me, as there are no blood vessels in that area. Can you guess which part I am talking about? Bet you can’t. It’s the cornea of the eye, which gets its nutrients through tears and the aqueous humor and oxygen directly from the air.
How to help me?
1. Maintain your weight. Set an exercise routine. Go for walks. If you can’t exercise, try activities like gardening, household chores, walking your dog, take the stairs, clean your garage, or walk to the shop.
2. Try yoga to maintain both physical and mental well-being. It helps to manage stress and anxiety.
3. Stick to a healthy diet. Include lots of fruits and vegetables. Meat eaters, stay with lean meats. Avoid junk food and sugar-loaded drinks.
4. You must get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
5. Finally, make sure you get your regular check-ups. Have you heard that prevention is better than cure?
Task for you. Can you fill this grid with words related to the heart?