Being able to understand your heart is the best way that you can take care of it.
The heart is the second most important organ in your body, next to your brain. It is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body via the circulatory system.
Through the action of the heart, oxygen and nutrients are able to reach your tissues while carbon dioxide and other wastes can be removed through your lungs and kidneys. The heart ensures that blood continues to flow as it is the fuel of the entire body.
Understand Your Heart: How Does The Heart Work?
On average, the heart pumps about 2.5 billion times during our lifetime.
It works around the clock, even when we are sleeping or resting.
The heart has four chambers:
- The two chambers on top, or the atria, are responsible for receiving blood entering the heart.
- The bottom two chambers, or the ventricles, are responsible for pumping blood out of the heart.
When your heart receives a message from your body, it responds by pumping more blood or less, depending on what your body needs.
If you are sleeping, the heart pumps just enough to provide the necessary amount of oxygen needed by your body while sleeping.
If you are exercising, thus needing more oxygen, your heart will pump more to meet the demands of oxygen.
How The Heart Beats
A heartbeat is composed of two phases, the systole and the diastole.
SYSTOLE PHASE: The first phase is the systole where the ventricles contract and pump blood.
DIASTOLE PHASE: The diastole is when the valves open, the ventricles relax and fill with blood to get ready for the next contraction.
The heartbeat is controlled by the sinus node. This sends out a signal to the heart to start the pumping of the heart muscle.
The sinus node is also known as the pacemaker of the heart. It sets the rate of the heartbeat, which causes the rest of the heart to contract and follow it’s rhythm.
How To Keep Your Heart Healthy
There are different ways to take care of your heart. When you understand your heart a bit more, you will know what’s the right way to take care of it.
- Avoid smoking
- Be physically active
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Watch your cholesterol
- Regular check up
- Eat nutritious food
- Maintain a healthy weight
Cigarette smoking is one of the biggest causes of preventable diseases. It can harm any part of the body.
It has a big impact on the health of your heart since it has a toxic mix of over 7000+ chemicals which interferes with important functions of your body. One of which is the delivery of oxygen to your heart and your body.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure
When your blood pressure is too high, it strains your heart to work harder and faster. This can eventually lead to hypertensive heart disease which is the leading cause of death associated with high blood pressure.
Hypertensive heart disease includes ischemic heart disease, heart failure, and thickening of the heart muscle.
Watch Your Cholesterol
When there’s too much cholesterol in your body, your heart is put at risk. Too much cholesterol in the body leads up to fat build up otherwise known as coronary plaques in the wall of your arteries. This leads to atherosclerosis which is a form of heart disease. Blood flow to the heart muscle becomes blocked.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
There are three ways that obesity or being overweight can lead to heart disease.
One is diabetes, second is high cholesterol, and the third is increase in blood pressure. When you are obese, these three complications could arise and lead to a health problem. When you understand your heart and how being overweight affects it, you will know why it matters that you keep your weight to a healthy level.
When you exercise, it helps your body get rid of unhealthy toxins. It also helps to lower blood pressure, keep cholesterol in check, and limit the building of fat in the heart and body.
What Happens When The Heart Is Not Healthy?
If your heart fails, other body functions will also fail, some of which almost instantly.
The heart is one of the most overworked internal organs in your body. It can perform all of its task for a long time for a lot of people without any problems but sometimes, it fails and when it does, it can be lethal.
There are different causes for the heart to fail. Direct causes of heart failure include:
hypertension, high cholesterol levels, congenital heart diseases, cigarette smoking, obesity and diabetes mellitus. When you understand your heart and know how it can be affected by external factors, you can protect it better to have a healthy heart.
A heart attack happens when blood flow to the heart becomes blocked. The usual reason for this is buildup of fat and cholesterol in the blood vessels of your heart.
Heart attack and stroke are one of the leading causes of death in the Philippines according to the Department of Health. In 2017, heart disease deaths made up for 19.86% of total deaths. The Philippines ranked #28 in the world.
A heart attack can be fatal but thankfully, treatment is now far more advanced so the earlier the detection of a potential heart disease, the better. Make sure that you know the common signs and symptoms of heart attack.
- Shortness of breath
- Aching sensation in your chest or arms that spreads to your neck, jaw, or back
- Cold sweat
- Sudden dizziness or lightheadedness
- Sense of impending doom
Making sure that you understand your heart, how it works, how it benefits you, and how you can take care of it is very important in maintaining good quality of life.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.