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HEART AND ITS FUNCTIONS

Heart is the organ whose function is to keep up the circulation of the blood. At birth the heart beats about 130 times a minute, gradually diminishing to 100 at 6 years, 90 at 10 years, 85 at 15 years, and, among adults, anywhere from 60 to 80. Sixty to 65 beats per minute is exceedingly slow but has been noted, particularly in long-distance runners. The heart beats more than two billion times during a lifetime and pumps millions of gallons of fluid. The heart lies inside a sac, called the pericardium, a little to the left of the breastbone, at about the fifth rib. It is essentially a muscle about as big as a fist. It beats from before birth until death and seldom rests, even by diminishing its rate. It is an involuntary muscle that responds to excitement, effort, and other activities by beating fast.You can give it rest by lying down so as to slow the beat a little and decrease its force.
Coronary ArteriesThe heart gets its own nourishment from small blood vessels that pass into its muscle tissue from the large blood vessels that carry the blood away from the heart. Blocking of these coronary arteries is called coronary thrombosis; the symptoms that follow such blocking are known as coronary disease. In hardening of the arteries, blocking of the coronary blood vessels is more frequent than otherwise. Associated with temporary spasms of these vessels or temporary lack of blood supply to the heart is angina pectoris.

Heart FailureFailure of the heart to carry on its work is serious because the whole body depends on the blood. Failure may be due to inability of the muscle to pump, inability of the pump to force out enough blood at one time, or failure of the pump to force the blood all the way around and back again. If any of these failures occur, fluid collects in the feet and in the abdomen; the brain gets insufficient nourishment; occasionally the heart muscle will enlarge in an attempt to do what it cannot. Signs of heart failure are shortness of breath, and a blue tinge to the skin resulting from lack of oxygen in the blood.
Heart DiseaseHeart disease is not a single illness but may be one of several, such as that resulting from rheumatic fever, one of the foremost foes of health in children, which is related frequently to streptococcus infections of the throat.People of advanced years sometimes suffer breakdown of the heart; death may be prevented by seeing to it that the victim avoids stress and strain.
Coronary ThrombosisCoronary thrombosis is the forming of a clot or clots in the coronary arteries. The moment an attack occurs, the victim should be put immediately at complete rest in bed. Then, by careful study involving the use of the electrocardiograph, the doctor will determine the nature and scope of the condition and take the necessary measures to relieve pain and, if possible, bring about improvement. Any attack of acute indigestion in a person past forty-five years may actually be the beginning of coronary thrombosis and should not be regarded lightly.*16/318/5*

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