Read-to-Live Series: How to develop HBP, Stroke & Heart Attack for starters | The Logic of the Heart, Blood, and Blood Vessels

Everyone
knows the importance of the heart and blood to life. Blood is literally our
life wire.  The human body consists of
millions of cells as its building blocks. 
Oxygen from the air we breathe and nutrients from the food we eat must
be supplied continuously to every cell in the body in order for us to remain
alive and be able to do anything.  All
the waste products from the activities of the cells in our body must also be
removed and conveyed to the kidneys and other organs for removal from our body.
Otherwise, the wastes products by the cells will poison the cells. 


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Blood is the vehicle for conveying oxygen,
nutrients, wastes and many other vital chemical substances around the body.  The heart is the organ responsible for
pumping and moving the blood around the body. Blood is conveyed around the body inside very many special tubes or
channels known as blood vessels.  There
are about 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the body. 

In
human beings, like in most animals, blood is contained within blood vessels and
it is pumped round the body by the heart. 
The heart is an organ, which is made of muscles with hollows or
chambers.  All blood vessels are
connected to one another and to the heart. 
The heart and blood vessels together form a closed network of channels
known as the circulatory system.  The
heart contracts regularly to push the blood round the body within the
circulatory system.


The
circulatory system acts as the transportation system of the body.  When the heart muscles contract, the blood in
the chambers of the heart is pumped into the network of blood vessels in which
it circulate to all parts of the body, carrying oxygen, nutrients, waste
products and many other important substances which the body needs to be able to
function properly.

The
blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart are known as arteries
and those that return blood to the heart are known as veins.  Arteries convey blood from the heart to
organs and tissues while the veins return blood to the heart from the various
organs and tissues.
The
blood conveys oxygen from the air that we breathe into the lungs and nutrients
from the food that we eat to all parts of the body for the life and health of
all tissue cells.  The first part of the
arterial system leaving the heart is known as the aorta, which is the
largest blood vessel in the body. The first two branches of the aorta (right
and left coronary arteries) supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscles.

How blood circulate
in the body
Through
the process of heartbeat, the heart pumps blood into arteries and around the
body.  Blood returns to the heart through
veins to be pumped round the body, again, and again. The heart beats about
seventy times per minute and over one hundred thousand times each day.  This process starts from the time the baby is
only a few months in the womb until the person dies.  All the vessels and the heart are usually
full of blood; so when the heart muscles contract, blood is pumped into the
already full network of vessels.  The
heart has to pump with enough force to be able to push blood into the already
full vessels and around the body.

“If someone’s blood
pressure is as high as 140/90 or above, continuously as monitored for an
extended period of time, say about one month or two, it is said to be too high
and therefore known as high blood pressure or hypertension.  Hypertension is a disorder or disease, which
can cause serious problem in many parts of the body”.

Blood Pressure
Blood
pressure is the force that is required to push blood through the arteries. The
walls of blood vessels, especially arteries, are elastic and are therefore able
to expand when the heart pumps blood into them through the process of
heartbeat.  The blood that the heart
forces into an already full vessel exacts a certain amount of force, which
makes the walls of the vessel to expand and force blood ahead in the
vessel.  The force that is exacted on the
walls of artery in this process can be measured as blood pressure.
Blood
pressure can be measured by a blood pressure machine or instrument.  Blood pressure is measured as the pressure
created when the blood is pushed into the vessel (systolic pressure) over the
pressure that is constantly present in the blood-filled vessel; that is
pressure that is present before blood is pushed into the vessels (diastolic
pressure).  This is why blood pressure is
always reported as one figure over another, such as 120/70. In this case, the
120 is the systolic pressure and 70 is the diastolic pressure.
How to become Blood
Pressure or Hypertension rated
A
normal adult blood pressure ranges from 100/60 to 130/80 and blood pressure
tends to increase with age.  If someone’s
blood pressure is as high as 140/90 or above, continuously as monitored for an
extended period of time, say about one month or two, it is said to be too high
and therefore known as high blood pressure or hypertension.  Hypertension is a disorder or disease, which
can cause serious problem in many parts of the body.
High
blood pressure generally does not cause any pain or some other symptoms;
therefore someone who suffers high blood pressure may not be aware of the
problem.  Nevertheless, high blood
pressure or hypertension is a very dangerous condition that cases serious
damage in vital organs, such as the heart, brain, kidneys and eyes.
From the Book; “Early and Sudden Death; the Price of Affluence among
Nigerians”
(Read “5 Deadly
Causes of High Blood Pressure & Hypertension” tomorrow on Asabeafrika)

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