Most of us take our hearts for granted until something goes wrong, but in fact, it’s an amazing organ. Understanding a little bit more about how it works may help you realize just how remarkable it is, and how vital it is to take care of your heart.
The easiest way to think of a heart is being like a pump, but it’s so much more than this as it is a collection of millions of different cells or working to deliver blood to organs right throughout your body. Without this blood, your organs would quickly die as the blood contains oxygen and other essential nutrients that are necessary to keep every cell within your body functioning properly.
The average person’s heart will beat around 60 to 70 times a minute which equates to more than 100,000 beats each day. Over the course of an average lifetime, your heart will beat 2.5 billion times, so it’s an incredibly hard-working organ that is pre-programmed to operate automatically every single second of every single day, for as long as you live. It doesn’t matter if you are resting or active, your heart doesn’t get the chance to take any time off.
Your heart is placed almost in the center of your chest and it contains four separate areas, each of which are called chambers. Your heart has two smaller upper chambers that are the right atrium and left atrium. The two lower areas or chambers are slightly larger and these are the right ventricle and the left ventricle. Blood from your body enters into your right atrium and is pumped to your right ventricle and from there it travels through your pulmonary artery into the lungs. At this point, the blood becomes enriched with oxygen while carbon dioxide is removed.
During the next stage, your oxygenated blood will travel to your left atrium by going through your pulmonary veins. From there it will go into your left ventricle which is the main pump within your heart. This is a powerful muscle that is able to pump the blood out to all the organs in your body through the aorta. It is largely regarded as being the most important part of the heart, particularly from a cardiologist’s point of view as it is the area most likely to be affected if you happen to suffer a heart attack.
When the blood enters into your aorta it’s directed towards the coronary arteries. All of these different arteries have branches of their own which are also known as being coronary arteries. It’s their job to supply your heart with oxygen and blood. In a healthy heart, this blood flow isn’t interrupted, but if something obstructs this flow of blood for more than 20 minutes, there’s a good chance that your heart will receive insufficient oxygen.
As a result, the muscle in your heart being fueled by that particular artery will begin to die, which is what happens if you are unlucky enough to have a heart attack. If the damage to your heart continues to spread then heart failure can occur, at which point your heart will be unable to pump blood to all of your organs. Another side effect of heart failure is that blood tends to collect in the lungs because it is no longer being pumped efficiently round the body. This results in them feeling heavier so it becomes more difficult to breathe.
Unfortunately, many people will have a heart attack here in the United States as it’s one of the top two killers, right up there with stroke. This is why one of the best Manhattan cardiologists, Dr. Steven Reisman works tirelessly with his patients to try to prevent heart disease and stroke. He is only too well aware that many people can prevent or even reverse heart disease by taking modern medications and by making lifestyle modifications.
If you have a family history of heart disease or heart attacks, then it could be worth scheduling a consultation with a cardiologist to assess your risk through cardiac screening. Your heart is an amazing muscle and even if you have significant risk factors there is still a lot you can do to improve its health and to help strengthen it. The cardiologist can advise you on the best and most effective tips and techniques for reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke.