The heart’s beating is frequently associated with how you’re feeling. A condition of being in love, for example, is connected to a rapid heartbeat. A more mellow situation like lazing about on a sleepy Sunday morning might be related to a slower and poorer heartbeat, until you get a call from the one you’re in love with!
Tracking the heart’s action through nonstop evaluations such as heart rate variability analysis can really help us understand more about not only our moods but also about our general well-being and physiological resilience. Our heart is among the numerous organs whose activity is affected by the autonomic nervous system or ANS. The autonomic nervous system is a branch of the peripheral nervous system responsible for regulating the optimal functioning of various organs and systems.
The ANS also helps to keep the body’s homeostasis in the face of changing internal and external conditions. Autonomic failure may cause the body’s synchronized systems to break down. Autonomic failure may result from primary autonomic disorders of which autonomic nervous system degeneration is the characteristic symptom or from other’secondary’ motives like cardiovascular disorders, metabolic disorders and chronic stress.
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As the smooth operation of the ANS is crucial to good health, higher immunity and a positive outlook of future health, it will become vital to estimate the state and operation of the ANS on a regular basis. The heart doesn’t beat at regular intervals. Rather, successive heartbeats are separated by slightly varying time periods. This variability, called heart rate variability, is brought on by the interplay of these actions of both branches of the ANS.
The two branches, called the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system, have opposing effects on the beating of the heart. Heart rate variability analysis functions as a non-invasive instrument to provide a quantitative analysis of autonomic nervous system function, the actions of the PNS and the SNS and the equilibrium between both of these branches. Electrocardiograph or ECG entails recording the electrical activity of the heart by using electrodes placed on the patient’s body.
The electrodes detect the little electrical changes in the skin that occur because of the electrical changes in the heart muscle caused during each pulse. As ECG is a direct manifestation of the electrophysiological activity of the heart, it’s thought of as the most reliable means to quantify and analyze heart rate variability. Photoplethysmogram or PPG is a modality that reflects pulsatile blood transportation through peripheral blood vessels. It’s an indirect reflection of the heart’s action but is known to supply a fairly accurate measurement of the variation in the time periods between successive heartbeats.