The heart cannot stand alone. Although it is vital and its function is important for the survival man, it still needs the miles of blood vessels throughout the body. The heart is part of an even greater mechanism, the cardiovascular system, which provides oxygen and nutrients to every cell in the body.
Every single day as the cells work, they need oxygen and nutrients and also excrete wastes. The only problem is, the dumping of these wastes cannot be done by the cell itself. That’s where the heart and the cardiovascular system come in. The blood vessels provide as passageways for nutrients and oxygen to reach the cell and at the same time acts like a sewer that collects and dumps the wastes excreted by the cells. This function is vital in keeping the critical homeostasis.
To simply put it, our heart is merely a transport system pump and the blood vessels function as the delivery routes. The blood serves as the medium of transport that carries the vital oxygen and nutrients. As the heart pumps, it propels the blood to the cells thereby delivering the much needed nutrients and collects the accumulated wastes.
In relation to its size, the heart is nothing short of spectacular. It is only about the size of a fist but it packs incredible strength and endurance. Enclosed by the mediastinum and protected by the bony thorax, the heart leans slightly to the left. The lungs are located on both sides of the heart and also partially obscure the heart. The point at which we can feel the heart beating is located just below the nipple, between the fifth and sixth rib. This point is also called the point of maximal impact and is actually the apex part of the heart.
Coverings of the Heart
A double-walled sac termed as the pericardium encloses the heart and protects it from rubbing against the other components located in the thorax. The word pericardium comes from the word peri which means around and cardi meaning the heart. The pericardium has a momentous task in hand and that is it prevents the overfilling of the heart with blood, anchors the heart to the surrounding structures and most importantly, protects the heart.
The pericardium has several layers, all having distinct characteristics and functions. The superficial part of the pericardium is called the fibrous pericardium. Next to it is a slippery, thin layer membrane known as the serous pericardium. The membrane facing the fibrous pericardium is called the parietal layer and the membrane covering the external surface of the heart is called the visceral layer or also known as the epicardium; an integral part of the heart wall.
A cavity exists between the visceral and parietal layers, called the pericardial cavity. This cavity is filled with serous fluid that acts as a lubricant. This lubricant allows the heart to work friction-free.
We are all aware of how important our heart is. As part of the cardiovascular system, it is a hardware that ensures the blood in our body is continuously circulating to make it certain that balance is achieved.