Overview of the heart function:
The heart can be considered the pumping station for blood toward the lungs as well as the rest of the body and will adapt to various metabolic and physiological demands that arise at various stages of life. The complex mechanisms in which the heart act would maintain the oxygenated as well as non oxygenated blood separately and would contract and relax in order to pump as well as to receive blood for the next pumping cycle. The contraction of the heart muscles will be guided by a complex mechanism of signal generation and transmission that can also be influenced by many other factors.
Types of altered heart functions:
A person will show certain symptoms and the body functions would not be optimal when the heart is unable to meet the demands by means of pumping blood effectively. The symptoms that can be precipitated by disrupted heart function will include extreme fatigue, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, light headedness, lethargy as well as bluish discoloration in the peripheries including the tongue.
These symptoms may be the result of heart failure, ischemic heart disease, poor lung function, electro mechanical disruptions or rhythm abnormalities…etc.
What affects the proper heart functioning?
When considering the factors affecting the heart's function, following can be listed.
Structural heart defects : These would disrupt the separation of oxygenated and non oxygenated blood as well as prevent the heart to make full use of its muscular contractions. Therefore, the contractions of such a heart can be ineffective or inadequate and can give rise to various symptoms.
Electro mechanical dissociation : If the signal generation at the AV and Sinus nodes get disrupted or else if the conducting pathways in the heart musculature gets deranged, the heart function will be ineffective and thereby would be inadequate for the other organs.
Increase pre-load : If more blood returns from the atrium towards the ventricles for pumping the pumping event may become overloaded and therefore the heart would not be able to function properly and can become ineffective with time.
Increase after-load : If more blood remains in the ventricles after pumping, the function of the heart would be ineffective as well.
Peripheral narrowing of the blood vessels : If the arteries become narrowed probably due to deposition of cholesterol plaques, the heart has to pump more vigorously to overcome the resistance and therefore can become diseased with time.
Ischemia to the heart muscles : This will prevent part of the heart muscles to be defective and thereby affect the efficiency of heart function.
Physical activity : When the body demands more oxygen, the heart is bound to function at a faster rate than usual.
Extreme cold and heat
Adequacy of environmental oxygen
The above is no means a complete list and many other internal and external factors will influence the adequate functioning of the heart.