Overview Of Human Circulatory System and Common Heart Diseases
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Yoga For Cardiovascular System

The circulatory system consists of the heart which pumps the blood to various body parts and the blood vessels which carry the blood from the heart and back to it again. The heart is a very vital organ and it keeps pumping blood incessantly all through the life span. The third most integral component of the circulatory system is the blood. Together they are known as the cardiovascular system. The heart muscles are responsible for the pumping action of the heart and the bloods vessels are in contact with all the systems and all the living parts of the body. It is like a communication channel established all throughout the body through which the oxygen travels to all the parts of the body and vital functions are conducted.

There are a couple of points that are of utmost importance for the circulatory system:

  • The blood in the blood vessels circulates in one direction only. Any anomaly in this flow would be problematic to the entire body.
  • The blood passes through the heart repeatedly.

The heart is mainly a muscular pump and its size is that of the size of one's fist. It weighs approximately 300 grams in an adult male and about 250 grams in an adult female. The cardiac muscles are specialized to handle extreme incessant and strenuous movement. This makes them extremely tough and resilient. They recuperate also very fast because any wear and tear in them would be fatal to the body. These cardiac muscles are called myocardium. They are covered on the outside by a membrane called pericardium. The inside lining is called endocardium.

The heart has four chambers two atria, the right and the left which are thin walled and two ventricles, the right and the left, which are thick walled. This is because the ventricles have to push the blood out of the heart, which requires greater effort so they are more muscular. There are one way valves in between these which allow the blood to flow in one direction only from the atria to the ventricles. The valve between the right atrium and the right ventricle is called tricuspid valve. The valve between the left atrium and the left ventricle is celled the mitral valve. The right and the left compartments do not have any direct connectivity. The two atria and the two ventricles are separated by two different septa or partitions. The heart completes a pulmonary circuit in one contraction to push the blood out. It also completes one systemic circuit when the impure blood enters it. This constitutes one heart beat. The heart beats 70-75 times in one minute.

The blood vessels are of two types. They are the arteries and the veins. The arteries carry the pure blood away from the heart and the veins carry the impure blood towards the heart. Both the arteries and veins branch out into numerous smaller capillaries in order to reach every part of the body. Arteries are wide, thick walled, muscular and elastic in structure. The veins are not as thick walled as arteries and are placed nearer to the skin in many places so that they stand out in many parts of the body like the hands, the neck and the ankles.

Congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy are diseases of the heart muscle. These have many causes such as hypertension, repeated or severe heart attacks, viral infections and infiltrative heart diseases like lupus or scleroderma. This is a situation where due to disease the heart muscles become weak and ultimately cannot handle the pressure of pumping blood to the entire system. The heart tries its level best to cope up with the situation and starts dilating and beating faster. But the blood eventually goes up in the lungs filling them with fluid. This is called congestive heart failure. Cardiomyopathy is a very severe case of congestive heart failure. It is characterised by uncommonly dilated heart. These two conditions are becoming extremely common in the modern day life full of all kinds of stress and tensions.

Atherosclerosis is a situation where there are fat deposits inside the arteries. These get inflamed and provoke reactions from the heart depending upon the severity of the situation. The heart has to pump harder in order for it to reach all the systems of the body. This puts undue pressure on the heart. The wrong kinds of attitude towards nutrition for very long durations of time are considered to be the main reason for this situation to happen. Also oxidative stress is considered to come into play as the condition of inflammation of the arteries may be direct result of free radical attack on the arteries. A genetic link also cannot be ruled out. For details on oxidative stress please refer the section on Yoga for Lifestyle disorders.

Yoga Asanas and Yoga Postures for Cardiovascular & Circulatory System

Yoga is a form of unique discipline that is designed in accordance with the basic structure and rhythm of the human body. There are many yoga asanas and yoga postures that can be done to keep the circulatory system in perfect working condition. There are pranayama practices that can make the heart and the circulatory system very strong and powerful to be able to cope up with the added pressures of modern day life. Yoga nidra can relax all the systems of the body including the cardiovascular system. Meditation is also very useful in order to keep the heart and the circulatory system working in perfect condition.

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