Sunday, May 19, 2013

Understanding how the heart works

Your heart is an amazing powerhouse that pumps
and circulates 5 or 6 gallons of blood each minute
through your entire body.

...a Slideshow from

To understand heart disease, you must first know how the heart works. The heart is like any other muscle, requiring blood to supply oxygen and nutrients for it to function. It beats about 100,000 times a day, pumping blood through your circulatory system. The cycle of pumping blood throughout your body carries fresh oxygen to your lungs and nutrients to your body's tissues. Blood also takes waste, such as carbon dioxide, away from your tissues,. Without this process, we could not live.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease begins when cholesterol, fatty material, and calcium build up in the arteries. When this occurs in the arteries that supply the heart, this buildup, or plaque, causes the arteries to narrow, so that oxygen delivery to the heart is reduced. The reduction in oxygen delivery to the heart can create chest pain, also called angina.

The link between heart disease and heart attack

When plaque builds up to the point that it ruptures, it causes a blood clot to form in the coronary artery. The blood clot blocks blood from flowing to the heart muscle, leading to a heart attack. In a worst-case scenario, sudden cardiac arrest or fatal rhythm disturbance can occur.

What are the heart disease symptoms in women, seniors, and people with diabetes?

For many women, seniors, and people with diabetes, pain is not a symptom of heart disease at all. Instead of experiencing discomfort, they often have symptoms of malaise or fatigue.

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