Endurance: Cardio – Pulmonary – Neuro-Vascular

includes the cardiopulmonary unit, autonomic nervous system, and the vascular tree. This Triad reflects the relationship of mind and heart, mediated by the respiratory cycle. When Triad 3 is balanced, the individual has plenty of metabolic resiliency and strength to meet the challenges of life, but can become inflamed and spasmodic when levels are not in sync.

CARDIOPULMONARY

LOCATION

Cardio CardioThe cardiopulmonary system comprises organs and structures  relating to both the circulatory system and the respiratory system,  including the heart, lungs, pulmonary artery and vein, aorta,  trachea and bronchi. These organs are located in the thoracic  cavity of your body.

FUNCTION   

The function of the cardiopulmonary system is to deliver oxygen  and nourishment to the cells of the body and to remove waste in  the form of carbon dioxide. The heart generates the pressure  needed to perform this operation. This pressure allows us to  breathe and keeps blood flowing throughout the body.

RELATIONSHIP 

The cardiopulmonary system relates to all other organ systems in  the body and to the body’s metabolic health. Imbalances in  metabolism can lead to cardiopulmonary problems. Cardiovascular  disease (CVD), or heart disease, is the number one cause of death  in the United States, with over 70 million Americans have  cardiovascular problems.

Chronic stress, lack of quality sleep, immune imbalances,  imbalances in brain chemistry, gut health, environmental factors  like smoking and pollution, weight gain/obesity, chronic  inflammation, hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, high blood  pressure, increased oxidative stress and damage, cholesterol and  blood sugar imbalances, poor diet and lack of exercise all can lead  to heart, lung and blood vessel problems.

 

 

NEUROVASCULAR

LOCATION  

NEUROVASCULAR neuro2
The brain and the heart are connected by the vagus nerve, which  serves as the “highway” for transmitting and regulating nerve  impulses from the brain to the heart. The vagus nerve is known as  the 10th cranial nerve. The vagus nerve extends from the medulla  (the lower part of the brainstem that controls involuntary functions  like heart rate and breathing), down along the carotid artery/jugular  vein in the neck to the neck, chest and abdomen.

The vascular system or blood vessels are included in the  circulatory system with the heart. The vascular system consists of  your arteries, which carries blood away from your heart that is rich  in nutrients and oxygen for your cells, and your veins, which carry  carbon dioxide and cellular debris away from the cells back to the  heart. You have about 6 quarts (5.6 liters) of blood in your body,  and it travels about 12,000 miles a day through your blood vessels.

FUNCTION   

Vagal tone refers to the internal biological processes of the vagal  nerve. The vagus nerve helps regulate largely subconscious  processes in the body, including heart rate, movement of your GI  tract for digestion, sweating and muscle movements in the mouth  including speech. Stimulation of the vagus nerve slows heart rate  and reduces blood pressure and can help control seizures.

The purpose of the vascular system is to pump blood, delivering  nutrients to the cells and removing toxins. The vascular system  transports hormones, blood clotting factors, cells of the immune  system and fats/lipids among other things. As you age and/or have  metabolic imbalances like high blood pressure, your vascular  system becomes stiffer and your heart has to pump harder.

RELATIONSHIP 

Your heart communicates with your brain through 4 ways:

  • The nervous system (neurological communication)
  • Pulse waves (biophysical communication)
  • Hormones (biochemical communication)
  • Electromagnetic fields (energetic communication)

Depression, mood disorders and decreased cognition  (memory and ability to think clearly) can occur when  the heart is compromised. Up to 60% of individuals  that have a heart attack experience symptoms of  depression within the 12 months, and depression  doubles the death rate in the months following a heart  attack. Depression decreases the tone of your vagal  nerve, which increases inflammation and coagulation,  leading to cardiovascular problems.

Studies report that the risk of developing heart  disease is significantly greater in those who vent  their anger as well as for those who suppress  anger. A lower heart rate is reported to lead to a  longer lifespan. Also, the heart rate variability  (HRV), or change in your heart rate, is important.

Exercise can increase heart rate variability.  Someone with a low HRV has an increased risk of  heart disease and death.

Heart to Brain Communication System  

neuro3

Decreased vagal tone and HRV occurs with: 

  • Dehydration
  • Obesity
  • Insulin resistance/insulin signaling problems
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression and anxiety/anger
  • Heart failure
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Gastrointestinal problems

The vascular system, with your veins and arteries, is  intimately tied to heart and lung function. Without  the heart beating and pushing blood through the  vascular system or the lungs getting oxygen from  the air we breathe and releasing carbon dioxide, we  would not survive. Yet the vascular system is  involved with basic metabolism other than the heart  and lungs – with transporting lipids and fats, insulin  and glucose, hormones and nutrients.

The vascular system is damaged by oxidative stress  and inflammation resulting from various imbalances  in metabolism, including high cortisol levels, lack of  quality sleep, environmental stressors like toxins and  smoking, increased blood coaguability and blood  pressure, blood sugar/insulin problems,  lipid/cholesterol imbalances, poor methylation and kidney dysfunction.