The Architecture of Your Heart

When it comes to the health of your heart, it helps to have basic understanding of its structure. This is especially true if you've been diagnosed with a specific problem that stems from your heart's anatomy. Let's discuss the structure of your most important muscle in very simple terms.

Your heart is made up of four chambers. The right atrium and ventricle help to circulate blood through the lungs.

The left atrium and ventricle help to circulate blood to the rest of your body.

So the blood that's on the right side of your heart is depleted of its oxygen and the blood that flows through the left side of your heart is oxygen-rich.

The atria receive blood into the heart and the ventricles pump blood out of it.

Between these four chambers there are valves.

These valves help to keep blood flowing in the right direction.

They also prevent it from slipping back to the wrong chamber when the heart is at rest. In a sense, they are one-way doors.

The cells of the heart are specialized and actually will beat on their own.

To make sure that they all beat at the right time, the heart has a special area called a pacemaker.

This is located in the right atrium of the heart and is called the SA node. It sends an electrical impulse to regulate your heartbeat.

The heart is the central organ of the circulatory system. The entire system works together to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the cells.

At the same time it picks up wastes and carbon dioxide from the cells. In order to do this, blood vessels provide a transportation network for delivery.

The left ventricle empties blood out into the aorta - the strongest artery in the body.

It carries the blood away from the heart and branches off into smaller arteries and eventually blood makes its way to the capillaries.

At the capillaries the blood makes its exchanges and then returns to the heart through the veins.

The vena cava is the major vein that returns blood to the heart.

There are also pulmonary arteries and veins that transport blood from the heart to the lungs and then back again.

The heart may seem like a simple structure, but it can actually be quite complicated because of its many structures and its essential functions.

The heart is the most efficient pump on earth - no manmade structure can come close to its efficiency and longevity.

The Numbers You Need to Know for Your Heart

While many people are concerned that they have a healthy heart, they may not know exactly what is used to measure heart health.

In fact, there are some very basic measurements that you can take regularly to make sure your heart is in optimum condition.

Blood pressure is the first number you'll want to check.

This is actually a measurement of the force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels.

It's made up of two numbers. The top number is your systolic pressure.

This is the pressure on your vessel walls when your heart is actually beating and is at its highest.

The bottom number is called your diastolic pressure.

This is the pressure at its lowest when your heart is between beats.

Your blood pressure may go up or down because of stress or movement. But overall it should be around 120/80.

The bottom number is the one that usually concerns your doctor more because it's the pressure when your heart is resting.

If this number is high, it usually indicates a problem.

Cholesterol is the other number you need to know.

There are four numbers here that you'll want to measure. The first is your total cholesterol.

A healthy total cholesterol number is under 200.

From 200-239 you're at borderline risk for heart disease, and higher than 240 puts you at high risk.

Cholesterol can also be broken down into HDL, LDL, and triglycerides.

HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein and is the healthy cholesterol. That number should be at least 40 or higher.

LDL is your low-density lipoprotein, or unhealthy cholesterol.

Your LDL numbers should be below 100 to have the best heart health.

Finally, your triglyceride numbers should be below 150. This is the kind of cholesterol that comes from unhealthy fats.

You also need to know your blood glucose level. This is also known as your blood sugar level.

It's a measurement used to find out if you have diabetes.

Many people have high blood sugar and have absolutely no symptoms.

However, diabetes can cause an increased risk of heart disease. Healthy blood glucose levels are between 70 mg/dl and 100 mg/dl.

By making an appointment with your doctor, you can have all of these numbers and levels checked.

The blood test required for your cholesterol and blood sugar levels is quick and easy.

You'll get your results back in about two weeks. Once you know where you stand, you can make any changes necessary in your lifestyle to improve your heart health.

It’s much better to keep yourself from developing heart disease than to try to keep it from getting worse later.
Continue to research here to learn more about how to have healthy heart tips for your lifetime fitness and health.

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