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In a Heart beat

Does our heart break when we are sad? Not really! While it was initially thought that our heart was linked to our emotions, we now know that the brain controls all of that. A heart is not heart shaped either! But our heart is still one of the most important organs in our bodies and we don’t want this one to skip too many beats!

What does our heart do?

Our heart is our body’s pumping machine. The heart basically pumps blood with great force so that it circulates and reaches different parts of our body. There are two distinct chambers, which do different things.

The left side takes in blood that is rich in oxygen from our lungs and then pumps it to different parts of our body.

The right side, on the other hand, takes in all the blood that comes back after taking a tour around the body and then pumps it to the lungs. This blood that comes in is low in oxygen and needs more supply from the lungs!

Once the lungs enrich the blood with oxygen it goes back to the left side and the journey starts once again. Quite simple really, but this is what keeps us alive and ticking each day!

An ECG machine can pick up the beat of our heart using pads on the chest.

Blood vessels

The heart could not do its job without an amazing network of blood vessels. Blood vessels are the roads on which our blood travels. The good thing is that all the streets are one-way!

Arteries are the main blood vessels (tubes) that lead away from the heart. Their walls are thick and are able to take the pressure as the heart pushes blood out with every heartbeat.

These arteries divide later into much smaller capillaries that then spread out to take the blood to different body parts. Capillaries are thinner than hair. The blood in these capillaries passes on oxygen and nutrients into the tissues. The blood with waste material (low in nutrients and oxygen) then moves the other way into the blood.

The capillaries with waste material then go on to join and make wider vessels called veins. These veins take the blood back to the heart that then pumps it for refreshment back to the lungs.

The heart, blood vessels and the blood together make the cardiovascular system.


The heart pumps, the blood vessels carry this all-important “blood” around our body. An average adult has four-five litres of blood.

What does blood comprise of?

About half of our blood is made of a pale yellow liquid called plasma. Plasma contains nutrients, minerals and body salt. And it is not red!

The rest of the blood largely contains the oxygen carrying red blood cells (RBCs). There are about 4-5 million RBCs in each drop of blood. Our blood also contains some amount of another important cell component – the white blood cells or WBCs. There are less of them – about 5,000-10,000 in a drop of blood. WBCs are very important too as they help us fight diseases by hunting and killing germs.

Red blood cells are doughnut-shaped and carry oxygen.

Heart beats faster

Have you ever noticed how your heart starts beating a lot faster when you are running or playing a hard game of soccer? Why does this happen?

The answer is quite simple and logical. Our muscles are working more and therefore need more oxygen and lot quicker. The muscles are also releasing the waste gas - carbon dioxide - a lot faster that needs to be taken back. The heart needs to pump faster to ensure this happens.

Expert Advice


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