The heart is a major organ in the body that helps in oxygenating blood and distributing it throughout the body. It is part of the cardiovascular system or circulatory system that distributes oxygen as well as nutrients throughout the body.
The heart is the organ that contracts and pumps blood into your blood vessels and this is then distributed in your body. Without your heart, you would not be able to receive oxygen and nutrients and would thus not survive.
The blood comes back to the heart after distributing oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and this blood is filled with carbon dioxide. This is because the tissues when digesting food release carbon dioxide which is exchanged for oxygen in the blood vessels.
THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF THE HEART
There are four chambers that make up the heart and one side receives blood and the other side pumps out the blood. The two different circuit paths of the cardiovascular system that is the pulmonary and systemic circuits meet in the heart. The blood is transported via these systems and it is cleansed in the lungs and then transported back to the heart and then to the remaining organs of the body.
That is why it is important to understand the different parts of the heart to understand how the blood is cleansed and transported through the circulatory system
The four chambers of the heart are basically the two upper layers of the atria and the two bottom layers of the ventricles. So the right side of the heart will have one atrium and one ventricle and vice versa. The deoxygenated blood from the various parts of your body has to pass through the right atrium. It then goes through a valve called the tricuspid valve that transports the blood to the right ventricle.
Valves basically make sure that the blood moves in one direction and doesn’t flow backward. So they help hold the system together and there would be total chaos without valves as deoxygenated blood and oxygenated blood would get mixed up.
Once the blood enters the right ventricle, the pulmonary arteries take the blood to the lungs for cleansing. The pulmonary arteries also have a valve for protection, which is called the pulmonary valve.
The pulmonary arteries take the blood to the lungs and here the carbon dioxide is removed and oxygen is added to the blood. The lungs throw out the carbon dioxide from your body when you exhale. The oxygenated blood goes back to the heart via the pulmonary veins and enters the left atrium.
When the oxygenated blood enters the left ventricle, it passes through a mitral valve and then goes to the left ventricle.
From here, the nutrient and oxygen rich blood travels all across the body after passing through the aortic valve.
The body’s largest artery, the aorta, takes the blood from the left ventricle to the rest of the body and basically sustains your body cells and tissues.
THE ENTIRE WAY BLOOD TRAVELS THROUGH YOUR HEART
You can understand how this circulatory system works and the role of the heart in it better by tracing the path of the blood in the body. After your cells and tissues have finished digesting food, they release carbon dioxide which gets accumulated in the blood and this blood travels to the right atrium of the heart via the vena cava vein.
This blood mainly consists of carbon dioxide and has little or no oxygen in it. Once it enters the right atrium, the blood passes through the tricuspid valve and then enters the right ventricle.
Now the pulmonary arteries carry this blood to the lungs to cleanse it of all the waste materials and carbon dioxide. The waste and carbon dioxide settles in the capillaries of the lungs and then the blood is filled with oxygen.
Now the pulmonary vein takes the blood back to the left chamber of your heart, into the left atrium. Once the blood goes through the mitral valve, it flows into the left ventricle. Now the left ventricle passes this blood to the rest of the body after it has gone through the aortic valve.
After passing through the aortic valve, the blood then moves in three different branches of the aorta- the carotid artery that transports this oxygenated blood to your brain. The second branch is the auxiliary artery that takes your blood to the upper half of your body. The final branch is the descending aorta which transports the oxygenated blood to the lower parts of your body.
The blood passes through capillaries to the tissues and cells and all the waste and carbon dioxide get stored in the capillaries and the oxygen and nutrients from the blood are transported to the cells.
This deoxygenated blood then again travels back to the right atrium of the heart through the veins and the entire process continues repeatedly. That is how the heart works and pumps blood throughout the body. It helps survive by exchanging the harmful carbon dioxide for oxygen and also provides our cells with nutrients to nourish and strengthen them.