Your heart health is based on the health of your heart and your vessels (veins and arteries). Together this system works to deliver the essential nutrients, hormones, and gasses to the cells of your body. A healthy heart also removes the waste from the cells and transports it to the detoxification systems. Without a healthy heart, the individual and groups of cells in the body would not be able to carry out their function(s) properly.
Equally true, without a healthy immune system, digestive system, urinary system, detoxification system, etc., your heart health would be compromised too. It is these connections that we will focus on for holistic health. First let’s look at the core functions behind your heart health.
Are you ready to get started? Me too…….
So how does this system actually work? How can there be a pump that is pumping nutrients and gasses to the cells of your body? All this, while you sit and watch TV, drive your car, or work at your computer.
Is the cardiovascular (the tubes and pump) system a closed or open system? Where does the blood in your body go once it leaves your heart? Does your body have to make new blood to continue to deliver nutrients to the body?
If your cardiovascular system also takes waste from your cells how does it distinguish between the good stuff and the waste?
Write down your answers before moving on.
This might help you answer the questions above….
Have you ever seen one of those water fountains that seems to continuously have water coming out of it? Is the water coming out reused or is there new water coming in from a different source? Watch this video and see for yourself.
Cut and paste this youtube link (http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Make-a-Water-Fountain-251824273) into your browser or click the link below. Water Fountain Video
You probably figured out that the water fountain uses the same water over and over again. The pump they use in the video is like your heart, continuously pumping blood out. The bowl is like your vascular system (the tubes), since it holds the fluid. The bowl then delivers the fluid back to the pump so it can be sent back out once again.
The difference with your cardiovascular system is that the vascular system that hold the fluid is connected directly to the pump on both ends. The result is a pump that sends out fluid through tubes on one end and receives the same fluid on the other end. On one side, the fluid contains nutrients, gasses, and hormones. On the other side the fluid contains waste products. So where does the exchange of nutrients for waste happen?
The exchange of nutrients and waste happens in the capillary systems of the body. The capillary system is where arteries change into veins and where the fluid direction changes. The fluid starts by going away from the heart and to the cells. The pressure in the tubes ( blood pressure ), is what propels the fluid forward. At the capillary system it returns to the heart and away from the cells. In our example of the fountain, the point at which the water touches the rocks is similar to this place of exchange. The rocks can be seen as the cells and once through the cells the fluid returns to be replenished.
Now that you have the basic idea of the structure and function of the cardiovascular system, let’s look at how this system relates to the other systems. It is in these relationships that holistic health lies.
As mentioned above, the main job of your heart and cardiovascular system is to deliver gasses, nutrients, and hormones to the other parts of the body. So what happens when this process is impaired? In other words, when your heart health is compromised and unable to deliver these, what happens to the other systems?
Try the experiment below to find out.
Take out a rubber band and wrap it around your finger for about 1-2 minutes. What happened?
If you are like most, your finger turned red or even blue in color. Towards the end it probably started to feel cold and maybe even numb. The reason for this may seem obvious, but what is actually happening in terms of the vessels of your finger? More importantly what would happen if a similar thing happened in other parts of the body like your kidneys or liver?
Please write down your response before moving on.
In the case of your finger, we are cutting off the two directional flow of blood. The new nutrient rich blood cannot get to the tip of the finger, and the waste blood cannot get out of the tip of your finger. If you take it down to the cell level, the cells cannot get the oxygen and nutrients they need to live. If this were to continue, the cells would eventually die and so would the finger.
The vessels in your cardiovascular system are like an interstate that transport all sorts of things along it path. Your immune system uses this interstate to send messages to other immune cells that can then track down invaders. Without this interstate your digestive system would be useless as the nutrients would never get delivered to the other areas of the body. Similarly waste products could not be transported out of the body and away from the cells of origin, without a pathway to travel on. The mind would be foggy and without focus, if it’s needed fuel was not delivered.
These examples of interdependence could go on and on, but the bottom line is simple. The other systems of the body need a healthy heart for them to be healthy. If you took part in the experiment, you have a direct experience to remember this truth.
So what about the other systems. Does your cardiovascular system depend on your digestive system, immune system, and all the other systems in order to function properly as well? Absolutely, and this will make more sense as you learn more about how these other systems work. For now let’s just say that without a healthy immune and digestive systems, your heart health would be compromised by excessive plaque (atherosclerosis), and poor rhythm. Without a healthy energetic system, the contraction of the pump would be insufficient and lackluster. We have explored a lot in this section about your heart health, but it really only touches the surface. If you understood these concepts, you now have the knowledge to take it to the next level.