The size of a clenched fist, the heart is comprised of four
chambers made of muscle and linked by valves that act as doorways.
The heart chambers, blood vessels and electrical pathways work together
to ensure the heart pumps an adequate amount of oxygen- and
nutrient-rich blood throughout the body and carries away waste
products. Trouble in any part of any of the heartís components can
disrupt the entire system and lead to problems elsewhere.
For instance, a heart attack brought about by clogged vessels may kill
a portion of heart muscle. Because that section of muscle may have
housed key electrical signal components, the heart may begin to suffer
from arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorder.)
Keeping the entire heart system healthy is, to a great extent, under
individual control. Commonly prescribed advice to eat well, exercise,
and avoid smoking, can go a long way in maintaining heart health.
However, certain heart problems can appear despite the best efforts to
stay healthy. You have to keep reading the signs.
Thanks to decades of research, clinicians and patients can call on a
host of medicines, procedures and interventions to minimize heart
problems and restore the organís basic operation.
Arteries, veins and
capillaries all play key roles
in carrying blood to and from
the heart. The arteries carry
"fresh" blood rich in oxygen from
the heart to capillaries throughout
the body. The veins receive
"used" blood from the capillaries
and deliver it back to the heart.
The heart then pumps the blood
to the lungs, and the flow of
blood through the connected
web of vessels repeats again. The heart plays a crucial role in various body functions like erection because blood flow to the penis is required for an erection.
Electrical: The heart has a
unique, built-in electrical system.
A ďpacemakerĒ triggers the
heartbeat. Then, the electrical
pathways that run through the
heart cause contractions in the
upper and lower chambers of
the heart, pumping blood in the
steady, rhythmic pattern that we
feel as our heartbeat.
The heart, which is
muscle tissue, is divided into four
chambers, each with itís own
role. Blood travels between
chambers via valves that open,
to allow blood to flow to the
next chamber, and then close, to
ensure that blood moves forward
to its next station of activity.