Fasciae of the Heart
Does the heart have fascia?
The heart consists of many components including the aorta and four chambers. Furthermore, the heart also consists of connective tissue covering the outermost and innermost portions of the heart. This connective tissue is known as fascia!
The different types of fasciae of the heart
All the internal organs of the body have what is known as visceral fascia. In the heart, the outermost fascia layer is known as the pericardium.
The pericardium consists of two layers separated by a thin cavity, which is filled with pericardial fluid to help reduce friction during contractions. The pericardium also aids to protect the heart in its position in the mediastinum.
For more details on the mediastinum, check out last week’s article: The Physiological Effects of Massage Therapy, Diet and Lifestyle on the Cardiovascular System.
The innermost layers of the heart make up the cardiac walls. They include:
The epicardium: this is a thin, transparent layer that lines the outer layer, providing a slippery and smooth texture to bordering walls.
The myocardium: this layer consists of the cardiac muscle tissue which is responsible for the pumping action of the heart.
The endocardium: another thin layer of epithelial tissue covering the inside of the heart, providing a smooth lining for the internal chambers of the heart.
Maintaining healthy heart fascia
The myocardium, involved in the pumping action of the heart, varies in thickness in the four cardiac chambers. The two upper chambers are called the atria and the two lower chambers are called the ventricles.
The thickness of this fascia also varies based on one’s lifestyle and habits. Factors that influence the heart walls to become thicker include:
High stress levels
Poor quality sleep
If an individual is in a constant cycle of one or many of these poor lifestyle habits, it is likely the heart is working more to pump sufficient oxygen and nutrients into the blood. With decreased oxygen and nutrient supply to the rest of the body, certain heart conditions may develop such as arteriosclerosis, hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke and/or heart attack.
Did you know? 95% of chronic diseases, like heart disease, is cause by said habits. You read that number correctly: almost 100%!
Prevention of such dis-eases includes:
Maintaining a healthy weight
Physical activity of at least 1 hour per day
Reduce sugar and alcohol intake
Eat a variety of vegetables and lean protein
The health of your heart and cardiovascular system are all within your control. Eat well, exercise, meditate, or get a massage. Try to make any new changes today to ensure your heart health tomorrow.