The heart is a vital organ that needs attention and care for life. It is one of the most essential organs of the body which pump blood to all the parts of the body and gives the body the oxygen and nourishment it requires to keep us alive and healthy. Mainly the heart is responsible for two functions:
1. It collects blood from the tissues of the body and pumps it to the lungs
2. It collects blood from the lungs and pumps it to all tissues of the body.
It is important to note that apart from pumping oxygen-rich blood to the tissues of the body, it also circulates other important substance in the body. Nutrients from digestion are collected from the small intestine and pumped through the circulatory system in order to deliver the nutrients to all cells of the body. The circulatory system of the body also carries waste from cells to the kidneys where the wastes are extracted and passed to the bladder.
Surely, the heart is filled with blood, but it provides very little oxygen and nourishment to the tissues of the heart. The tissues of the heart are supplied by a separate vascular supply that is committed only to the heart. The supply to the heart arises from the base of the aorta as the right and left coronary arteries.
Common Heart diseases
Heart diseases are considered to be one of the killers of both men and women throughout the world. According to the researchers, millions of people are diagnosed with heart diseases every year. Some of the most common heart diseases are as follows:
1. Coronary artery disease
Coronary heart disease is considered to be one of the primary cause of death and disability throughout the world. Coronary arteries are those arteries that bring oxygen and nutrient to the heart muscles. Coronary artery disease develops when the coronary arteries become narrowed, and it occurs due to the build-up of plaques in the coronary arteries. This build-up of plaque leads to a decrease in the flow of blood through the arteries. Over time, there can be a form of the blood clot on the surface of the plaque. When the clot becomes large, it can partially or entirely block the flow of oxygen-rich blood, which leads to chest pain or heart attack.
An arrhythmia is defined as abnormal heart rhythm, and it is characterized by the fluttering and a brief pause. Generally, arrhythmia has no symptoms, but a person who is suffering from arrhythmia feels like a skipped heartbeat. Arrhythmia is categorized into two types:
- Bradycardia - Bradycardia is a condition when the heart rate becomes too slow that is less than 60 beats per minute. This type of arrhythmia causes symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, fainting, lightheadedness, and in extreme cases, cardiac arrest.
- Tachycardia - Tachycardia is a condition when the heart rate becomes too fast that is more than 100 beats per minute. Tachycardia reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood, and it causes symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, loss of consciousness, and in extreme cases, it can lead to a heart attack.
3. Congenital heart disease
Congenital heart disease is the problem that occurs when there is an abnormal formation of the heart and major blood vessels. In medical terms, congenital heart disease is defined as an anatomic malformation of heart or vessels that occurs during the intrauterine development. The symptoms that occur in congenital heart disease depends on the type of problem an individual is suffering from, and the severity of the symptoms can range from mild to serious.
Risk factors associated with heart diseases
We all are familiar with the fact that regular physical activity and eating healthy food plays a most important role in maintaining a healthy heart. But there are some other factors as well that contribute to the development of heart problems, and controlling those factors can help in decreasing the risk of developing heart problems. Some of the factors are as follows:
1. Blood pressure
High blood pressure is considered to be one of the most important factors that affect heart health. Hypertension is a medical term used for high blood pressure. Blood pressure is defined as a force of blood against the blood vessels that is created when the heart contracts. Hypertension or high blood pressure is associated with various complications as it damages the blood vessels, makes them narrower and more rigid. This leads the heart to work harder to push the blood through vessels, which in turn further increases the blood pressure.
There is a close relationship between the blood cholesterol level and the risk of developing heart disease. Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance which is made in the body by the liver. Cholesterol is needed by our body to produce healthy cells, vitamin D, and various hormones. When there is too much cholesterol in the blood, it leads to the build-up in the walls of the arteries. Over time, this leads to the hardening of arteries, which further causes the arteries to become narrowed, and the flow of blood to the heart is interrupted.
Weight management is one of the most important factors to lead a healthy life. Obesity is associated with the development of heart problems in various ways. The most serious long term effects of obesity are associated with an increase in atherosclerosis cardiovascular disease and its related consequences. Various factors are caused by obesity that increases the risk of heart disease, such as increased blood volume, increased cardiac output, left ventricular hypertrophy, and left ventricular diastolic dysfunction.
Tips to follow to keep the heart healthy:
- Exercise every day
- Eat healthily
- Quit smoking
- Limit the consumption of alcohol
- Reduce consumption of salt