How Does Blood Flow Through the Heart?

Your blood flows through the heart via a vast network of veins, vessels and tubules.

An illustration of the human heart

How does blood flow through the heart?

Your blood flows through the heart via a vast network of veins, vessels, and tubules. Each day your heart pumps 2,000 gallons or 5 quarts of blood daily and beats 115,000 times daily. The heart acts as a pump to distribute oxygenated blood throughout the body. Without oxygenated blood, you’ll suffer hypoxemia and heart failure. On the other hand, the blood constitutes plasma and red blood cells that carry oxygen molecules to keep your body alive.

What Are The Parts of the Heart?

Your heart constitutes four chambers (right atrium, right ventricle, left atrium, left ventricle, and some arteries and valves.

The Four Chambers

  • Right ventricle: takes in blood from the right atrium and pumps the oxygenated blood to the lungs.
  • Right atrium: receives oxygen-rich blood from the rest of the body and pumps blood to the right ventricle.
  • Left atrium: Takes in oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and pumps the blood to the left ventricle.
  • Left ventricle: Being the strongest chamber, the left ventricle makes the vigorous contractions. It pumps oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.

Other parts that regulate or carry blood

  • Aorta: Comprise the largest artery in your body and it features tubular vessels that carry blood to the rest of your body. Its use is to distribute oxygenated blood from the left ventricle and into the rest of your body.
  • Arteries: They carry blood away from the heart and distribute them to the rest of your body. Aorta forms the largest of the arteries.
  • Coronary arteries: Are vessels that branches or runs in the surface of your heart. They supply blood to the heart muscle or myocardium.
  • Bicuspid valve: Also known as the mitral valve, it refers to the blood between the left atrium and left ventricle. Biscupid valve opens and closes per beat and allows blood to flow one direction only.
  • Pulmonary ventricle: Carries oxygen-rich blood from lungs into the left atrium
  • Septum: Refers to the cartilage that separates the right and left atria (plural of atrium).
  • Vena cava: Being the largest vein, vena cava takes the blood from the body into the heart.

How Does Blood Flow Through the Heart?

From heart to all body parts and vice versa

  1. All the deoxygenated blood comes from all parts of the body: head, arms, and legs. They are all dump into the heart via the vein.
  2. The heart pumps the oxygenated blood out of the heart via the aorta or aortic arch. The aorta sends off one vessel up and one vessel down and so on to the many directions.

Within the heart

The heart is divided into two parts to prevent mixing of oxygenated blood and oxygenated blood. The right part consists of the right atrium and right ventricle where they pump blood to pulmonary arteries. On the other hand, the blood enters the left atrium and left ventricle and it is pumped to the aorta and the rest of the body.

Within the heart, there’s a tricuspid valve, aortic valve, mitral valve (bicuspid valve) and pulmonary valve that acts as gates. These valves open and close once per heartbeat or per second. The heart contraction is called systole while the heart relaxation, diastole. During the systole, the ventricles (left and right) contract and pumps blood to the pulmonary vessels in the lungs and your body.

During the diastole, the ventricles relax and get filled with blood from the upper chamber. Your body repeats this systole and diastole (contract and relax) function to distribute blood throughout your body. Your heart gets blood nourishment too through the coronary arteries that are blood vessels that runs over your heart surfaces and branches (networks) through small capillaries.

Frequently Asked Questions About Blood and the Heart

What’s in the blood that makes us live?

Blood constitutes platelets, plasma and red blood cells. Your heart needs to pump the blood throughout your body to send oxygen to your brain, organs, skin and tissues. Also, your heart removes carbon dioxide in the blood. Your body’s metabolic process such as respiration sends carbon dioxide to blood.

What is the cardiovascular system?

The circulatory system comprises the heart (cardiovascular), arteries, portal vessels, and coronary that all work together to provide oxygen, remove carbon dioxide, distribute blood to the rest of the body. The arteries and vessels are like highways for blood.

How does your body control and generate the heartbeat?

The nerve impulses start in the upper part of the right atrium and through the pathways in the ventricles thus signalling your heart to pump. Your heart’s conduction system keeps it beating in a coordinated way. The cardiac conduction system (CCS) produces electrical impulses to stimulate and have your heart pump blood.

The CCS consist of the sinus node or the natural pacemaker, the autonomic nervous system and the atrioventricular node. The sinus node comprises of cell cluster in the upper area of the right atrium where the electrical impulses are generated. The autonomic nervous system controls the firing of electrical impulses generated in the sinus node. The atrioventricular node delays the electrical current from the sinus node before it goes down through the ventricles. Likewise, the AV acts as a gate. The delay allows the atria to fully contract before the stimulation of ventricles.

How can I maintain a healthy heart and blood flow?

To take care of your heat and blood flow, you need to eat healthy fats, exercise to recuperate from a sedentary lifestyle, cut down on salt, get a yearly checkup, avoid smoking and sleep well. Best foods consist of berries, walnuts, avocados, garlic, dark chocolate, green tea and beans. Further, avoid excessive alcohol that can adversely affect your organs and subsequently your heart and blood pressure.

The Bottom Line

Your heart plays an important role in your body. Without this organ, you won’t live. Even the slight reduction of oxygen can make you ill when you try to climb up the mountain. Take note that heart problems top the list of most many people. Live a healthy lifestyle and diet to care for your heart and blood.

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