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.