What Is the Specific Function of Cardiac Muscle? Cardiac muscle and skeletal muscle are both types of striated muscle, but that’s where the similarities end.
Cardiac muscle is much more specialized than skeletal muscle in that it beats in a controlled and coordinated fashion to pump blood around the body, whereas skeletal muscle contracts and relaxes as part of your daily movements.
For example, when you walk up the stairs to your office on Monday morning, your skeletal muscles contract and relax in order to put one foot in front of the other while your cardiac muscles do their thing to circulate oxygenated blood throughout your body so you can get to work on time!
Understanding Cardiac Muscle
Cardiac muscle has a specific function and purpose. Unlike skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle is involuntary. Cardiac muscle makes up your heart, and unlike skeletal muscle, it cannot consciously contract; that is why it is involuntary.
Another difference between cardiac and skeletal muscles lies in their shape; while they are both striated muscles, cardiac muscle fibers are circular in shape as opposed to myofibrils found in skeletal muscles that run parallel to each other.
What is the specific function of cardiac muscle?
Cardiac muscle, unlike skeletal muscle, is involuntary. It also has the specific function of contracting the heart in order to pump blood throughout the body. Although cardiac muscle is most active during exercise and when we need a faster heart rate (such as when we’re frightened), it’s also active all day long to keep our blood moving.
Even while you sleep or sit at your desk typing on a computer, your cardiac muscles are going to work! In contrast, the other main type of muscle — skeletal muscle — is voluntary. We control skeletal muscles with our brains and nerves and can use them whenever we want to move or exercise. This means that skeletal muscles can only work when we’re thinking about making them work.
As discussed, cardiac muscle contraction is involuntary (not under conscious control) and must work constantly and consistently. In order to maintain a stable beat that can be relied upon for years on end, your heart has evolved a number of different functions to ensure proper contractility.
However, one of these functions is particularly unique: calcium pump channels in myocytes’ T-tubules. These channels play an integral role in signal transduction—the transfer of electrical signals from cells to outside world—but they also help regulate intracellular calcium levels by pumping calcium ions out of myocytes and into extracellular fluid during every heartbeat.
In addition to its specific function, cardiac muscle also helps regulate blood pressure. More specifically, heart rate is tied to blood pressure; if your blood pressure rises too high, your heart rate increases to ensure that enough blood flows through your arteries.
This feedback loop is controlled by your sympathetic nervous system; when you’re stressed out, you experience an increase in sympathetic control over your organs and body processes. So next time you’re running late for a meeting or find yourself in a stressful situation at work, don’t forget about cardiac muscle! It has a role beyond pumping blood throughout your body.
When you consider its many functions, cardiac muscle is one of your body’s most important muscles. It contracts to force blood throughout your circulatory system, providing fuel and oxygen to every cell. In addition, it stabilizes your heartbeat—not a minor responsibility! As you age and begin to lose muscle mass and strength, your heart may struggle to provide adequate amounts of oxygen-rich blood to meet all of your body’s needs.
In addition, over time, it may become harder for a regular beat to be sustained due to cardiovascular disorders like hypertension or heart failure.
Before we conclude, here are some final words on functions of cardiac muscle! At present, there is no generally accepted theory of function of cardiac muscle. There have been numerous attempts to explain it but these theories lack consistency and usually conflict with each other. Clearly, more research is required in order to understand what exactly cardiac muscle does and how it goes about performing its function!
Though we still have a long way to go before we can conclusively say that we understand what cardiac muscle actually does, let us take some time out and look at what researchers think!