Learn About Your Heart To Prevent Heart Disease

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Heart disease, Learn About Your Heart To Prevent Heart Disease, Dr. Nicolle

Hello. This is Heart Health Tuesdays! Today, we’ll learn about your heart to prevent heart disease. Your heart is directly involved in supplying all of your organs with the oxygen they need to function properly. Without it, your body would completely shut down.

Using the skeletal and muscular systems, the heart pumps oxygen-rich blood throughout the entire body. This provides all of the nutrients needed by the body to function properly and keeps the blood carrying the nutrients from clotting.

 

Your heart is the most powerful muscle in your body, beating over a million times in its lifetime, and it’s one of the first things to stop working if you don’t keep your heart healthy. If your heart has any sort of disease, then it can lead to heart attack, stroke, or even death.

 

This is why it’s so important to take good care of your heart. If you develop heart disease, your heart is no longer able to perform its primary function with the same efficiency.

 

Learning more about the anatomy and functions of your heart can help you understand not only the role it plays in your overall well-being but also how you can take better care of it to avoid heart disease.

 

Functions of the Heart

Each day, your heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood if it’s functioning regularly.

 

Your heart is a key component in keeping your blood cells oxygenated and delivering this oxygenated blood throughout your body.

 

Oxygenating Blood

Your cells could not perform their regular functions without oxygen, and oxygen fuels cellular respiration, which is where your cells use oxygen to break down nutrients into energy and waste. The waste gets discarded, and the energy is used as fuel for your body.

 

Since oxygen is such an integral part of your cells’ regular functions, your body has to ensure a constant supply is reaching your cells at all times, which is accomplished by oxygenating your blood.

 

The heart doesn’t supply this oxygen itself, but it does facilitate oxygenation by pumping deoxygenated blood into the lungs.

 

Circulating Blood

Once blood has been oxygenated, it moves from the lungs back into the heart. It then has to reach the rest of your body.

 

Your heart pumps this blood through your arteries, which carry it to organs and tissues throughout your body. Contractions, known as heartbeats, push blood through your circulatory system.

 

Once the oxygen is used up, blood returns to the heart to be oxygenated once again.

 

Anatomy of the Heart

the human heart structures

 

Your heart is a complex organ made up of a series of chambers, valves, and tissues. Each part of the organ is involved in circulating your blood throughout your body, and damage to any of them can jeopardize your health.

 

Chambers

Your heart consists of four chambers. You have left and right atria located in the upper area of the heart and left and right ventricles in the lower area. The left and right sides are separated by a muscle wall known as the septum.

 

Blood enters your heart through the atria from your veins. It passes from the atria into the ventricles, which then pump the blood out of the heart.

 

The atria are thinner than the ventricles, and not as much force is needed to transfer blood between the chambers of the heart. More force is needed to pump blood out through the arteries.

 

The right atrium receives deoxygenated blood and passes it through to your pulmonary system via the right ventricle. Your left atrium receives oxygenated blood from your lungs, which is then pumped out from your left ventricle to the rest of your body.

 

Valves

Heart valves control the flow of blood through the heart, ensuring everything stays moving in the right direction.

 

Atrioventricular valves, also known as cuspid valves, are located between the atria and ventricles. They close as the ventricles contract, preventing blood from flowing backward into the atria once it has passed into the ventricles.

 

Your heart also contains semilunar valves, which are located near the bases of the ventricles. These valves close and the ventricles relax, and these actions keep blood from flowing back into the ventricles after it’s been pumped out into your circulatory system.

 

Blood Vessels

Heart disease, Learn About Your Heart To Prevent Heart Disease, Dr. Nicolle

Your heart is connected to many different blood vessels that carry blood to and from different cells and organs. These include both veins and arteries. While your veins bring deoxygenated blood back to your heart, your arteries pump oxygenated blood out of your heart and through your body.

 

Your largest artery, the aorta, brings blood to many different areas through smaller branches. You also have the superior and inferior vena cava, which bring deoxygenated blood back to the heart from your upper and lower body, respectively. Your pulmonary artery and veins carry blood between your heart and lungs.

 

Your heart needs oxygenated blood to function too. This is supplied by the coronary arteries.

 

How Heart Disease Interferes With These Functions

Heart disease interferes with the regular function of your heart by restricting blood flow. Plaque builds up in your arteries, causing them to narrow, which in turn, limits how much blood can pass through them.

 

Without proper oxygenation in your heart and other parts of your body, your cells won’t have the energy they need to function properly. This can lead to major complications, like a heart attack.

 

Improving Your Health Through Heart Disease Treatment

Thankfully, there are many ways to keep your heart healthy and prevent heart disease. Common heart disease treatments include following a heart-healthy diet, quitting smoking, and getting more exercise.

 

Food For Thought

Properly caring for your heart allows it to function efficiently. The more heart-healthy choices you make, the easier it is for your heart to continue to oxygenate and circulate blood like it’s designed to do.

If you would like to receive a free resource sheet to support your quest for better heart health, click the button below to receive your gift.

 

Heart disease, Learn About Your Heart To Prevent Heart Disease, Dr. Nicolle

 

I’m excited to talk about this topic today because not only do I truly believe that you have the power to reverse heart disease and lower high blood pressure to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of these chronic diseases so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.

 

As you may already know, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve blood pressure and reverse heart disease. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.

 

Tools to Improve Heart Health

Blood Pressure Monitoring

It’s very important to monitor your blood pressure. I often recommend an automatic upper arm blood pressure cuff, but a wrist blood pressure monitor is also acceptable.

Heart disease, Learn About Your Heart To Prevent Heart Disease, Dr. Nicolle

Weight Monitoring

Since weight management is very important in blood pressure control, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor.

 

Heart disease, Learn About Your Heart To Prevent Heart Disease, Dr. NicolleRemember, healthy lifestyle behaviors–like eating a whole-foods plant-based diet that is low in sodium, being physically active, and stress management are the best ways to prevent and control high blood pressure. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use.

 

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

 

Stay healthy,

 

Dr. Nicolle

 

PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.

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Learn About Your Heart To Prevent Heart Disease

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