What are my objectives while studying this topic?

The heart is the central organ within the circulatory system. You will study the structure of the heart and the specialized cells that make up the tissues forming the heart. This will help you understand the function of the heart within the cardiac cycle. You will also study the composition of the blood and how its content is maintained in the circulatory system.

Why is this important?

Fitness and healthcare professionals measure and monitor heart function and the control of the blood flowing to and from the rest of the body by taking physiological measurements. These measurements assist professionals improve the well being and performance of an individual’s circulatory system as well as diagnosing cardiovascular diseases.

Can I get an introduction to this topic?

Yes, why not have a look at the following links:

Useful questions to ask:

1. What are the risk factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease?

2. What are atherosclerosis, aneurysm, stroke, and coronary heart disease (CHD)?

3. What are the ethics involved in the treatment of patients and the dilemmas faced by health professionals in the treatment of patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases?

What will I be expected to be able to do after studying this topic?

You’ll be expected to:

  • Describe the main causes of coronary heart disease (CHD)

  • Explain what happens if the heart or brain is deprived of oxygen

  • State the risk factors for coronary heart disease

What are the key words to learn and use for this topic?

  • Atherosclerosis

  • Aneurysm

  • Stroke

  • Coronary heart disease (CHD)

  • Angina

  • Hypertension

  • Cholesterol

  • Obesity

  • High emotional stress

  • Tobacco smoking

  • High alcohol intake

How long will this topic take to study?

On average you’ll be looking at about four hours of taught time and independent study.

What are the main activities on this topic


Produce concept maps of the risk factors and the effects of a range of cardiovascular diseases eg, atherosclerosis, aneurysm, stroke, coronary heart disease (CHD) etc.


Discuss ethical issues surrounding the monitoring, diagnosis and treatment of patients.


Watch video or DVD clips from TV programmes eg, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, newspaper reports or possibly real-life cases to start a discussion. You could work in groups or by yourself to research a case in greater detail and present conclusions to the whole group.

To write up your case study use the Quick Guide to Referencing:



Calculation of the risk of CHD


Info and images on specific diseases


Have a look at the virtual cardiology lab where you can diagnose heridtary heart diseases using different techniques.

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