how the heart works

How the Heart Works

How the heart works

The heart is the most crucial and hard working organ of a human body. Placed behind the chest bone in the rib cage; the average human heart measures up to the size of a closed fist. The basic purpose of this organ is to pump blood to the entire body. This muscular organ pumps blood through the blood vessels of the circulatory system. Blood is responsible for providing the body with oxygen and nutrients along with the task of removing metabolic wastes. It supports the existence of all other organs, making it fundamental to living.

 

Basic Structure

For understanding the functioning of the heart its structural details is a prerequisite. It has four chambers – 2 atrium and 2 ventricles along with valves. The atrium is the upper chamber that receives blood. The two lower ventricles are the pumping chambers. Numerous blood vessels called the arteries and veins are connected to the heart. There are four valves that control the flow of blood from atrium to the ventricles and from ventricles to the two main arteries. The four valves are tricuspid, pulmonary, mitral and aortic.

It’s important to understand the position and task of the valves. The tricuspid valve is placed in between the right atrium and the right ventricle.  The mitral valve is positioned between the left atrium and the left ventricle. Basically, the Blood flows out of the right ventricle to the lungs through the pulmonary valve and then blood flows out of the left ventricle to your body through the aortic valve.

 

Blood Flow

The basic purpose of the heart is to pump oxygen rich blood to different organs, receive oxygen pure blood and again pump the oxygen rich blood. This cycle is continuous till the last breath of a person. Let’s have a look at this cycle in detail.

  • The main veins that bring impure (oxygen pure) blood from all parts of the body are superior vena cava (SVC) and inferior vena cava(IVC).
  • The impure blood enters the right atrium (RA), the upper right chamber.
  • From RV, the blood flows through the tricuspid valve(TV) to the right ventricle(RV), the lower right chamber of the heart.
  • The right ventricle then pumps the pure (oxygen rich) blood through the pulmonary valve into the pulmonary artery.
  • The blood then flows to the left and right pulmonary arteries and finally to the lungs.
  • The process of blood purification happens in the lungs. In the process of breathing, oxygen is put and carbon dioxide is removed from the blood. The blood becomes oxygen rich here in the lungs.
  • The pure blood goes back to the heart in the left atrium through the pulmonary veins.
  • This blood further flows through the mitral valve into the left ventricle which is the lower left chamber of the heart
  • Then the left ventricle pumps the pure blood through the aortic valve into the aorta. Aorta is the main artery that carries oxygen rich blood to all parts of the body.

The 3 Keys to Having Soft, Healthy Lips

The lips are a conspicuous component of the human face: not only are they important in physical attraction and erogenous when used in kissing and other acts of intimacy; they can be an important indicator of health.

The lips take a lot of abuse throughout the day: they’re constantly exposed to irritants such as the tip of the tongue; food and drinks; environmental pollutants; sun, cold, wind and so on. This means they can become chapped and unhealthy looking and therefore mar the appearance of an otherwise attractive face.  Chapped lips can also become prone to infection, further worsening the situation.

Healthy Lips

Healthy Lips (image source)

DID YOU KNOW? The upper and lower lips are referred to as the Labium superius oris and Labium inferius oris respectively.

So how can you keep your lips looking lush and healthy?

Unless you have a specific medical condition that affects the lips, then maintaining healthy looking lips is easier than you might think.  It simply comes down to developing some simple habits, which are:

1. Stay Hydrated

Simple though it may seem, being dehydrated is one of the main causes of dry looking lips. Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day (drinks such as soda, tea and coffee don’t count) and try and introduce water-rich foods into your diet if you’re not doing so already.  Water-rich foods can include fruits such as melons, grapes, cucumbers and mangos.

2. Use a Good Lip Balm

Dry, warm air has a tendency to dry out your lips, which you will probably bear witness to if you live in hot, desert-like climate.  Licking your lips exacerbates the situation because saliva evaporates quickly, leaving them drier than before, and the enzymes that help your saliva clean your mouth and digest food are harsh for your lips.

A lip balm helps to lock in the moisture in your lips by creating a waterproof layer which helps prevent evaporation and also provides a barrier to saliva getting through to the surface of the lips. Popular and effective lip balms such as Nivea Lip Butter also contain nourishing ingredients such as almond oil and vitamin E which can aid in conditioning in the lips, further enhancing their appearance.  If you live in a lower latitude country where the sun is stronger, it is advisable to use a lip balm with sun protection (SP 15 or above) and if you’re a lip licker, try and avoid using a flavoured lip balm as this will only increase your desire to do so.

3. Exfoliate Your Lips Before Bedtime

Just as exfoliating the skin helps to remove dead skin cells and stimulate rejuvenation of new cells, exfoliating the lips can do the same. The way to do this is simply using a moist toothbrush (without toothpaste on it of course) and softly buff your lips for about half a minute.  Another variation on this is to use sugar or a homemade scrub of honey, sugar, and olive oil. Simply rub the mixture on your lips and allow it to sit for several minutes before washing off with cool water.

If you follow the above tips, your lips will look healthier, fuller and sexier!
In addition to the above tips, here are some more tips that are worth reading as they will hinder your efforts to achieve healthy lips if you neglect them:

  • Don’t bite your lips – it is a common habit for people to bite their lips when they’re anxious.  If you’re one of these people, try using chewing gum to satisfy this urge because biting your lips causes cracking and can create open sores that are prone to infection
  • Ladies – use only good quality, moisturising lipsticks. Search for key ingredients such as shea or cocoa butter extracts and any type of moisturising oil such as coconut and/or olive oil
  • Try not to let any food bits or substances touch your lips while eating, especially processed foods and cooking oil as they can irritate your lips
  • Exercise your lips – facial exercises can increase blood circulation, which will give you a healthy glow, and it can improve the tone, texture and shape of your facial skin and lips

If your lips do not improve in appearance after following the above tips for a few weeks, then it is probably time to consult your doctor as some lip conditions can be a sign of an underlying issue such as infection or a nutritional deficiency.

Multivitamins For Older Adults – Are They Worth It?

As we age, we take on less calories, so it can be difficult to get the nutrition we need, simply because we are eating less.  In addition to this, our bodies become less efficient at absorbing some key nutrients as shown by research studies such as those undertaken by Katherine Tucker (PhD), chair of the department of health sciences at Northeastern University in Boston. The more common nutrient deficiencies in older people include vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B12 and iron.

Multi-vitamins for Older People

Multi-vitamins for Older People

For post-menopausal women in particular, deficiencies in iron, calcium and folic acid are common so the question is: Can these deficiencies be met with a natural diet or are supplements needed?

The Modern Diet

In 2009, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics published a position paper on supplements. It concluded that multivitamins, when taken regularly, can be an effective way to increase nutrient intakes to recommended levels. However, the best way to promote health and reduce chronic disease risk is to eat a variety of foods. Data such as those highlighted by the ‘A Behind the Headlines‘ report published in June 2011 by the NHS in the UK suggest that it’s the types and amounts of foods people eat, not amounts of individual nutrients that have a positive effect on our health. In other words, we CAN get the nutrition we need from a natural diet.

So why bother taking supplements?

There are a few key reasons why many people will benefit by taking supplements:

  • Most people eat a diet consisting of a large quantity of processed foods, which though high in calories, are usually low in nutrition e.g. vitamins, minerals, enzymes
  • Modern farming practices grow food on land that is worked hard and often has only one or two types of crop growing on it for many years. This in turn reduces the nutritional content of the soil, which is why virtually all modern farmers use man-made fertilisers
  • Most people in the modern world simply do not spend much time buying, preparing and eating whole, nutrition foods

While there is no substitute for eating a well-balanced, whole-food diet, most people will simply not go to the trouble of taking the time to set up such eating habits.  This results in a less than optimal diet and various nutritional deficiencies.

Who Benefits Most from Taking a Multi Vitamin and Mineral Supplement?

  • Older adults
  • Pregnant women
  • People who are dependent on alcohol
  • Strict vegetarians and vegans
  • People who have trouble affording enough whole food
  • People with certain health conditions (cystic fibrosis, HIV/AIDS)
  • People who take certain medicines that increase nutrient needs (blood pressure medications, certain types of steroids)

At the top of the list is older people and this is the segment of the market that has seen the highest increase in the consumption of nutritional supplementation. In fact, over half of adults aged over 65 take daily vitamins and other supplements says Donald B. McCormick (PhD) a professor emeritus of biochemistry in nutrition and health sciences at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

The most popular form of nutritional supplementation are one-a-day tablets such as the popular Vital 50+ Multi Vitamin Supplement from Sanatogen.  The attraction of such supplements are their ease of consumption and their-all nutritional content; containing vitamins and minerals that are often deficient in older adults.

Conclusion

While the vast majority of people can get their nutritional needs met by a natural diet, if you’re in the demographic group that is as higher risk from deficiencies and you’re not going to consistently eat a well-balanced whole-food diet on a regular basis, then multi-vitamin supplements can have a health benefit.

As always, if you’re suffering from any acute or chronic illness, always consult your doctor first.

Are Protein Supplements Worth It?

Proteins and amino acids that they’re built from are essential for repairing and building muscle hence the reason why almost all high-level athletes and body builders take some form of protein supplement as part of their diet. The question is, are protein supplements such as protein shakes and bars worth it, or can you get all the protein you need from a normal diet?

What Happens to the Body During Intense Exercise?

As you exercise, especially heavy resistance training, muscles and tendons and put under pressure and sustain minor tissue damage. After the workout, blood flow is increased to the ‘injured’ tissues and the repair process is started, with amino acids (which make up proteins) being taken up by these tissues to aid the repair process. The new tissue that is built in and around the ‘injured’ muscles then contributes to the overall growth of the muscles.

The rate at which the new tissue can be synthesized by the body depends, in part, to the availability of essential amino acids that are in the blood during the period of muscle repair. The quality of the new muscle that is built during this process is also partly dependent on the amount and availability of these essential amino acids, among other factors such as hydration, adequate rest and overall nutrition and health.

The Premise Behind Protein Supplements

The theory behind protein supplements is that high-level athletes, especially bodybuilders require higher-than-average quantities of protein to support maximal muscle growth. Many of them believe that they cannot easily get the quality protein containing all the essential amino acids they need through a conventional diet i.e. a diet without supplements.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for both men and women is 0.8 g of good quality protein/kg body weight/d and is based on careful analyses of available nitrogen balance studies (from a study carried out by the USDA). This can increase to more than 2g / kg body weight for physically active individuals such as body builders, which would amount to over 180g for a 90kg person. Protein shakes and bars are seen as the quickest and most convenient way of getting the good quality protein that the body needs.

So What About Protein Shakes?

Protein Shaker

Protein Shaker (image source)

There are three main types of protein powders that make up shakes: whey, soy, and casein protein, with whey protein being by far the most popular. This is because it is cheap to produce (whey is a by-product of cheese production), it is water-soluble and it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that the human body cannot make itself.

Typically, whey protein powder is mixed with water, milk or fruit juice and usually drunk after a workout (and sometimes before) so that the amino acids are available in the blood when they are needed.

There are three types of whey protein: whey concentrate, whey isolate, and whey hydrolysate. Whey concentrate is the cheapest option and is 29–89% protein by weight, whereas whey isolate is 90%+ protein by weight and is low on allergenics, making it a good option for the lactose intolerant. Hydrolysate is enzymatically predigested, so its rate of absorption by the body is very quick and therefore tends to be the first choice for more serious athletes.

So, Are Protein Powders Worth it?

In short, yes. Though no consensus has been reached in determining whether or not all individuals who exercise can benefit from protein and amino acid supplements, most research suggests that protein supplements are beneficial to individuals who carry out strenuous exercise. The reasons for this are:

  • Although it is possible, the majority of people will not eat the necessary high quality protein foods as part of their natural diet
  • Getting the recommended high quality protein as part of a natural diet is particularly challenging for larger individuals who train strenuously. For example, an individual weighing 120kg would have a protein requirement of over 250g a day. That’s a lot of steak and eggs!
  • Absorption rate – the amino acids in protein shakes are quickly absorbed into the blood, meaning they can be taken up by the muscles quickly and when they’re needed i.e. right after a workout
  • Convenience – it is far easier and quicker to drink 1 or 2 protein shakes than it is to prepare 1 or 2 high protein meals
  • Cost – it is also usually cheaper to get your protein requirements from shakes than meals

Which Protein Supplements Are The Best?

All protein supplements are not made the same. We have already mentioned about the different types of protein powders and specifically whey proteins, but which whey proteins are the best?

Unfortunately, many protein powders are loaded with problematic ingredients such as artificial colours, fructose, saccharin and aspartame. It is advisable to look for protein powders or bars that are made from natural ingredients and do not contain these suspect ingredients. In other words, do your due diligence by seeking out unbiased reviews and investigating the company’s reputation.

One particular trusted product that is used by body builders and high-level athletes is Body Fortress Whey Protein and this is one example of a protein powder that also contains creatine, which can help to increase muscle performance and therefore strength.

Most protein supplements come with recommended intake instructions and it is important to follow these based on your size, exercise regimen and outcome goals. Do not replace more than two meals a day with protein supplements and most of all, don’t overdo it and enjoy your exercise.

Discovering more about Cummingtonite Mineral

The earth is full of important minerals that are always deposited in soil, rocks and even under the sea. These minerals serve specific functions and when mined, they can be used to come up with important products that will bring about change and development in the world. Cummingtonite is an important mineral which is also recognized as a middle member of the series of minerals by the same name. These series includes magnesiocummingtonite and grunerite. The minerals are specifically known by the formulae which is essentially the same, that is (Mg, Fe)7Si8O22(OH)2.

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Their distribution and percentage

Many professionals always have a different view when it comes to their percentage and how they are distributed, this makes the whole idea to become even more important to debate and trying to get a lasting solution has been the key concept that is always applied by professionals as well as scientists. The key important details that you should know is that the percentage of magnesium to that of iron always vary in the series and this determines the minerals. Grunerite has a iron rich member which offers a greater ration of Mg/(Mg +Fe)- this equals 0.00 to around 0.29 while in the magnesiocummingtonite, the magnesium rich component has a ratio that equals 0.70 to 1.00 making it an important series.

Magnesiocummingtonite presence in the Cummingtonite mineralAmphibole_-_Cummingtonite_w-_chlorite_in_schist_Magnesium_iron_silicate_3800_foot_level_Homestake_Mine_Lawrence_COunty_South_Dakota_2071

When it comes to looking at the same ratios, magnesiocummingtonite has a default ratio of 0.30 ranging to 0.69. It is through its ratio that it becomes one of the rich members and great. According to proven research, cummingtonite was found to have similar formula with another important mineral which is the anthophyllite. Both the two minerals are known as polymorphs. This is a condition in which two minerals will share same type of chemistry but they have different structures. This mineral serves an important role in its series and it is highly valued. Many understand it as an important mineral. It is a great component of regional metamorphic rocks which are believed to occur through the minerals enstatite, hypersthene, or olivine and they are produced at expense of the cummingtonite. It is a great mineral of its kind; many scientists value it as one of the most important and highly valued mineral in the world due to its uniqueness and novelty nature.

Its color varies

The mineral has a variety that is known as amosite which is seen as asbestos in form and can be used likewise. It is used in industries to perform several other works to ensure that products receive a perfect outcome. It is also known as a health risk when used in plenty since it is made up of many other different minerals that have a fibrous habit. The best varieties that are highly valued from it are the tremolite and Serpentine asbestos which have higher flexibility and tensile strength. In South Africa, cummingtonite asbestos is found in plenty and mined for many other uses. It is an important mineral that plays m a major role in industry. The color of this mineral is dark grey but it can vary and appear as dark green or sometimes even greenish-brown.

5 Interesting Facts About Earthquakes

Having lived in southern California, I am all too familiar earthquakes. They are frightening when they happen, but the more you know about them can really help. Earthquakes seem to come out of nowhere, and attempts to predict often seem to fail. The state of California in the United States probably has the most earthquakes in the world, maybe as many as 10,000 per year. Most earthquakes are very small and hardly noticeable but others cause massive destruction. One of the world’s strongest earthquakes took place in Alaska in 1964.

Random-facts-japan-earthquake-Shortened-the-day-copyFirst of all, earthquakes do not just suddenly happen. They are a result of the natural movement of the earth, and happen when two or more tectonic plates move against each other. So far scientists know that the planet’s surface is covered with at least twenty tectonic plates which are constantly on the move. An earthquake occurs when one or more of these plates move against, go over or under another plate. The resulting force causes what is known as an earthquake tremor. A tremor acts more or less like a wave motion which moves through the earth.

When an earthquake has occurred, you will often hear scientists talk about the earthquake having a hypocenter and an epicenter. The hypocenter of an earthquake is located underneath the earth’s surface where the tremor begins. The term is not commonly used, but we will often hear a news broadcaster explaining the location of the epicenter. The epicenter is located immediately above the hypocenter on the surface of the planet.

Earthquake-Disaster

You may also have heard the word magnitude mentioned. The magnitude is measured on the Richter scale, and the highest magnitude is 10, and is the measured value of the size of the earthquake. Small earthquakes around the value of magnitude 2 cannot be felt, and the majority of earthquakes which occur around the world are about a magnitude 4. A magnitude 4 earthquake may be more noticeable inside a building than outside. Objects on shelves or walls may shake during a magnitude 4 earthquake. The biggest earthquake in history measured a magnitute of 8.5.

Most of us believe we can hear an earthquake, but as a matter of fact we can’t. The human ear can detect sounds in the frequency of 20 to 20,000 Hertz. A large majority of earthquakes which occur have a frequency of less than 20 hertz which could perhaps explain why pets are more sensitive to earthquakes. Pet owners in areas of the world with frequent earthquakes often claim their pets can “sense” the quake. More than likely, the pet can hear the actual sound wave of the initial tremor. What we humans hear is the movement of buildings and shaking home contents.

Larger earthquakes are always followed by aftershocks. They will occur along the same fault line where the plates met, but may not occur in the exact same place. Some aftershocks may be stronger than the first quake, and scientists then designate the stronger aftershock as the earthquake.

Earthquakes may be unpleasant and even dangerous but, without earthquakes the earth’s surface would not look like it does today, and we would not have separate continents.

Facts about Earthquakes

Earthquakes are destructive to homes and closely built commercial buildings. They are catastrophic and in most cases cost lives. Governments pay a lot for insurance, evacuation and infrastructure repair. Research development in earthquake engineering aims to provide a sustainable solution to this. The institutions are assessing different regions that are potential for high magnitude earthquakes. It is costly to construct structures that can resist earthquakes. By inventing and reconstructing stable architectural designs people can handle variations of seismic effects of the earthquakes. An earthquake is simply a shock wave. The wave radiates through the Earth’s surface causing varying effects. The effects can be mild, prolonged or even unnoticed. Causes EarthquakeFacts One of the many facts about Earthquakes is that they are caused by movements within the Earth’s crust. The Earth is composed of the inner and outer core, a mantle and a thin crust that covers the mantle. The crust is most essential as a surface holding our oceans and massive continents. The crust is composed of various rocks called tectonic plates. They are connected like jigsaw puzzles constantly moving around. The plates slide moving horizontally some sliding beneath and others push and force the ground upwards. The plates can also move around or pull apart from each other. The Tectonic Plates These tectonic plates movement create massive pressure that causes friction. The plates are rocky and cannot smoothly by-pass each other. When pressure overcomes tectonic friction, there is a sudden movement of the plates. The rock waves are then radiated through the surface rock that is a foundation to buildings. Aftershocks can continue for different periods depending on the quakes magnitude.?????? Fault Lines Fault lines are particular areas where tectonic plates join. These faults are highly sensitive to earthquakes with a high and regular occurrence. The areas are closely and well- studied globally. The San Andreas is a fault running all the way across the West Coast in the North America region. Another Fault line is the one running between Papua New Guinea towards the Australian Continent. New Zealand, Taiwan, Tonga and Japan are also situated in this region. It is important for people living in these regions to protect themselves by constructing earthquake-resistant and protected houses. Responsible authorities can practice emergency earthquake drills to sensitive people regarding safety. Effects of Earthquakes Earthquakes have massive effects on our buildings and land. They cause tsunamis that have fatal effects to our life. The violent shakes resulting from earthquakes cause buildings to collapse leading to tragic deaths and heavy casualty cases. Earthquakes destroy extensive power lines and disrupt the natural gas supply pipes. Land terrain changes to accommodate the drift of the titanic plates. The land either collapses or drifts apart which in turn causes more disastrous effects. The friction causes water shocks that collide with land leading to creation of a bigger single wave that ends up sweeping the inland. The high water levels cause destruction and deaths. It is important to know how to protect yourself during an earthquake. Drop down onto your knees before the earthquake and cover your entire body or head. Hold firmly onto the closest shelter and be aware of what is going on around you. Be prepared to consciously move to safer areas to avoid injury. Earthquakes are natural and therefore require proper planning and anticipation procedure in case it happens. Finally, find more about earthquakes to be safe always