The Heart, and it’s purpose

Happy February! and Happy Heart Heath and Awareness Month! I have finally stopped fighting the cold, and started to really settle into it.

Heart and Lungs
Heart and Lung

It is no surprise that February is Heart Health and Awareness month, St. Valentine’s Day, and all things Red & Pink. So I will be flying head first into a holistic approach to all things pink and pumping with blood. (eiiiihh that sounds inappropriate!) ANYWAY, before you start getting inundated with media explosion on all things heart and love, let’s cover the basics. That little fist sized piece of plumbing and the highway system it powers, your Circulatory System. So the pumper, THE HEART. Simplistically it is an impressive piece of plumbing that works to bring blood into the lungs then out through the body. It maintains a constant flow of cars on the California highways (veins and arteries), spending money (oxygen), providing goods and services (hormones and nutrients), and taking out the trash (toxins and waste). Was that too many different analogies? Now for the science-y stuff. Left Ventricle sucks deoxygenated (pictured in blue) blood in, and squirts it into the..

Lungs, blood gets all juicy (red) with oxygen, then gets sucked up by the…

Right Ventricle, which then squirts it all over the body all at once through…

Arteries, which runs to major regions and organs in the body, branching off into..

Arterioles, and then into…

Capillaries, which bring the blood right up close and personal with organ tissues. Here oxygen runs out into the tissues, along with the transfer of any hormones, nutrients, waste, and other gases that the organ wants or provides. The deoxygenated blood then travels into…

Venioles, which feed into the larger…

Veins, that go back to the…

Left Ventricle, and the process repeats!

Along the way nutrients get picked up in the digestive tract, waste gets dropped off in the liver, hormones are distributed around by the endocrine system, insulin from the pancreas, etc. You get the picture. If the system breaks down, all systems break down.

Your veins and arteries are responsible for pressure control, and maintaining flow. When the flow gets compromised or pressure builds, or drops off too much, the organs being fed off of that particular branch of the highway system gets injured. If undesirable pressure or flow happens too frequently or is too severe, serious things happen. Take blood flow to the brain, hang upside down too long and you will feel the pressure build. Then sit up really fast and you will get light headed due to too little pressure. Lack of blood flow, means oxygen is not getting to the area, and cell death occurs. Too much blood and the high pressure will damage delicate tissue. If the heart muscles are healthy and strong, and the vascular system is supple and free of clogs, then it can take a long time to get dizzy or light headed. If you find that you get light headed or dizzy often, it may be that your cardiovascular system needs a little exercise. Heart Diseases really fall into 3 categories,

  • Congenital; birth defects,
  • Infections; bacterial, viral, or fungal, OR
  • complications from Atherosclerosis.

The first two you were born with, have already had heart surgery, already have a serious illness, going through cancer treatments, or have a suppressed immune system. Heart Disease from Atherosclerosis is the number 1 killer in the US. The NUMBER ONE, with all other forms of dying considered. It usually takes a stroke or a heart attack before it even gets diagnosed. Even though the symptoms take a long time to build up and are completely preventable based on life style. A good diet and exercise are all it takes to maintain a healthy heart. Late this month I will have these diseases explained, their subtle deferences pointed out, and what you can do to prevent or turn it around. Major Risk Factors Are:

  • Smoking
  • Elevated Blood Cholesterol Levels
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Physically Inactive Lifestyle
  • Obesity

Foods to Eat More Often

  • Omega-3 Oils : Flaxseed, Walnuts, Cold-Water Fish
  • Monounsaturated Fats ; Nuts, Coconut, Sesame and Sunflower seeds, Olive oil
  • Fiber : legumes, fruits, vegetables
  • Vegetables : Green, Orange, Yellow
  • Fruits : Dark Colored Berries, Citrus,
  • Carotenes, Flavonoids, Selenium, Vitamins E , C , & B

Fish Oil supplements are the homeopathic choice. Supplements are not well regulated so look for “Pharmaceutical Grade”, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, about 500 milligrams, Long Chain DHA and EPA. For a more in depth look at Fish Oil Supplements read Chris Kresser’s in depth analysis here. At the bottom he has recommendations based upon his research and findings.


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