Heart health is extremely important for overall health and well-being. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, so it is important to keep your heart healthy. There are many things you can do to improve your heart health, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking. By taking care of your heart, you can live a longer and healthier life.
How Does the Heart Work?
The heart is a muscular organ about the size of a fist, located just behind and slightly left of the breastbone. The heart pumps blood through the network of arteries and veins called the cardiovascular system.
The heart has four chambers: two upper chambers (atria) and two lower chambers (ventricles). The right atrium receives deoxygenated blood from the body and pumps it into the right ventricle. From the right ventricle, the blood is pumped into the lungs, where it picks up oxygen. The left atrium receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it into the left ventricle.
How does Your Heart Change with Age?
The heart is a muscle that gets stronger with age and use. Just like other muscles in the body, the heart needs exercise to stay strong. The best way to keep your heart healthy is to be physically active. Doing aerobic exercise three to four times a week for 30 minutes can help to keep your heart healthy.
Some of the heart-related issues you may see:
Cardiomegaly: Cardiomegaly is often caused by high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, or valvular heart disease. Treatment for cardiomegaly depends on the underlying cause.
Anxiety, heart attack, and heartburn are all different conditions that can affect the heart. Anxiety is a feeling of worry or fear that can cause physical symptoms, such as a racing heart. A heart attack is a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to the heart is blocked. Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest that is often caused by acid reflux.
Air embolism: Air embolismcan happen when a blood vessel in your lungs ruptures. This can be fatal. A heart attack happens when the blood supply to your heart is blocked. This can also be fatal.
Fat embolism: Fat embolism is a serious complication that can occur after a bone fracture. When a bone is broken, marrow (fatty tissue) from the bone can leak into the bloodstream.
Extrasystole: Extrasystole is a common type of arrhythmia. It occurs when there is a premature beat of the heart. This beat may be faster or slower than the normal heart rate.
Heart murmurs: Heart murmurs are common and usually harmless. But sometimes they can be a sign of a heart problem. If you have a heart murmur, your doctor will likely want to check it with a stethoscope and may order other tests, such as an echocardiogram, to make sure your heart is healthy. Heart murmur in children is usually not a cause for concern. Most heart murmurs are benign, meaning they’re harmless. Heart murmurs can be caused by a number of things, including physical activity, anxiety, or a change in body position. You can exercise with a heart murmur, but you should check with your doctor first. If you have a heart murmur, it means that there is an abnormal sound in your heart that can be heard with a stethoscope.
Heart failure and sex: Heart failure and sexare not usually topics that go together. But a new study has found that sexual activity is linked with better heart health in people with heart failure.
Acute myocarditis: Acute myocarditis is a condition where the heart muscle becomes inflamed, usually in response to a viral infection. The inflammation can cause the heart to beat abnormally and can lead to heart failure.
Myocardial infarction: Myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked. This can happen when the arteries that supply the heart with blood become narrowed or blocked due to plaque buildup.
Stitches in the heart: Stitches in the heart are a common occurrence in those who have had heart surgery. The heart is a muscle and, like any other muscle in the body, it can develop scar tissue from surgery.
Cardiac catheterization: Cardiac catheterization is a procedure to examine how well your heart is working. A long, thin tube called a catheter is inserted through a small incision in your leg and threaded through blood vessels to your heart.
Heart palpitations: Heart palpitations are usually harmless and due to stress or anxiety. However, if you experience heart palpitations that are accompanied by chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting, you should seek medical attention as these could be signs of a more serious heart condition.
Deep vein thrombosis: (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. A DVT can occur in the leg, hip, abdomen, arm, or other area. DVT is a serious condition that can cause long-term damage to the body.
Stroke: A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes. A stroke is a medical emergency.
Aortic valve disease: Aortic valve disease is a condition that affects the heart’s aortic valve. The aortic valve is responsible for regulating blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body.
Arteriosclerosis: Arteriosclerosis is the hardening and narrowing of arteries caused by plaque buildup on the artery walls. This process is also known as hardening of the arteries.
Primary polycythemia: Primary polycythemia occurs when your bone marrow produces too many red blood cells. This can thicken your blood, which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Aortic aneurysm: Aortic aneurysm is a serious condition that can lead to heart attack or stroke. If you have an aortic aneurysm, it’s important to see your doctor regularly to monitor the condition and make sure it doesn’t get worse.
Ischemic heart disease: (IHD) is the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for more than 15 million deaths per year. IHD is caused by the build-up of plaque in the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Aortic stenosis: Aortic stenosis is a condition in which the aortic valve narrows, restricting blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta. This can put strain on the heart and lead to serious complications.
Heart failure: Heart failure is often caused by other conditions that damage the heart, such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, and high blood pressure. Treatment for heart failure often includes lifestyle changes, medication, and, in some cases, surgery.
Dilated cardiomyopathy: (DCM) is a condition in which the heart muscle becomes weakened and stretched. This results in the heart becoming unable to pump blood effectively, and can lead to heart failure. DCM is a serious condition that can be fatal.
Restrictive cardiomyopathy: (RCM) is a heart condition that involves the heart muscle becoming stiff and unable to fill with blood properly. This can lead to heart failure.
Sudden death: Sudden death from a heart attack can happen to anyone at any time, even people who have no symptoms and no previous history of heart disease.
Mitral valve disease: Mitral valve disease is one of the most common types of heart valve disease. It occurs when the mitral valve, which is located between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart, doesn’t open or close properly.
Angina pectoris: Angina pectoris is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. It may feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest.
Pericarditis: Pericarditis is an inflammation of the pericardium, the thin sac-like membrane that surrounds the heart. Although most cases of pericarditis are mild and resolve on their own, more severe cases can lead to chest pain, arrhythmias, and even heart failure.
Inflammation of a swollen vein: Inflammation of a swollen vein in the heart is called pericarditis. It can feel like a heart attack, but usually isn’t. The most common symptom is chest pain. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, fever, or irregular heartbeat.
Leg thrombosis: Leg thrombosis is a condition where a blood clot forms in the leg. This can cause serious problems if the clot breaks free and travels to the lungs, where it can block blood flow and cause a heart attack.
High heart rate: High heart rate can be caused by many things, including physical activity, anxiety, and certain medications. While a high heart rate is not usually harmful, it can be a sign of an underlying condition, such as heart disease.
Low heart rate: Low heart rate variability is linked to poorer heart health. In a study of over 1,000 people, those with the lowest heart rate variability were more likely to have poor heart health. They were also more likely to have high blood pressure and diabetes.
High pulsations at rest: High pulsations at rest, known as tachycardia, can signal an underlying heart condition. If you have tachycardia, you should see a doctor to find out if you have a heart condition and, if so, how to treat it.
Heart rate types: There are four types of heart rates: normal, high, low, and irregular. Normal heart rates are between 60 and 100 beats per minute. High heart rates are over 100 beats per minute. Low heart rates are under 60 beats per minute. Irregular heart rates are heart rates that are not regular.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm: Abdominal aortic aneurysm is a condition in which the aorta, the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs, becomes weakened and bulges.
Triglycerides: Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. Too many triglycerides can increase your risk of heart disease. To lower your triglycerides, eat foods low in saturated and trans fats, and exercise regularly.
Cholesterol: Cholesterol isn’t all bad. It’s an important part of cell membranes, and it helps with the production of certain hormones and vitamin D. But too much cholesterol can be a problem.
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