How Your Heart Works

Understanding how your heart works and how important it is to take care of your heart should never be overlooked. Anyone suffering from a condition or disease related to their heart will be able to tell you just how much you shouldn’t take a healthy heart for granted. To help anyone who is wanting to learn more about their heart, Pumping Marvelloushave put together an easy to understand complete guide to the heart answering all of the most common questions.

Why does my body need my heart?

Your heart is a key part of your cardiovascular system. It is an amazing organ that pumps blood around your body as it beats. This blood carries oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout your body to keep you alive.

Where is my heart?

There is quite a lot of confusion in this regard so to clear things up, your heart is roughly the size of a fist and sits in the middle of your chest, slightly to the left. You will find this organ under your rib cage, slightly to the left of your sternum and between your lungs.

What is my heart made up of?

In short, your heart is made up of three layers of tissue. There is a thin outer lining that protects and surrounds your heart (pericardium), a thick muscular middle layer that contracts and squeezes blood out of your heart (myocardium) and also a thin inner lining (endocardium). Inside your heart, there are also four different chambers, two on the left and two on the right. There are two smaller upper chambers that are called the atria and two larger lower chambers that are called the ventricles. These two sides of the heart are divided by a thin muscular wall (septum).

How does my heart actually beat?

The atria and ventricles work together, alternately contracting and relaxing to pump your heart. To keep your heart pumping, the sinus node (known as your heart’s natural pacemaker) will send electrical signals through your heart.

When resting, a normal heart beats around 50 to 99 times a minute however, exercise, emotion and illness can cause your heart to beat faster, sometimes well over 100 beats per minute.

Why are there two sides to my heart?

Although there are two sides to your heart, they do work together. The right side of the heart is the part that receives deoxygenated blood which has already circulated around your body. It will pump this to your lungs, where it is able to pick up a fresh supply of oxygen. This blood then returns to the left side of the heart, ready to be pumped back around your body.

What can cause problems with my heart?

Unfortunately, there are many different things that can cause you to have problems with your heart. Some of the most common being when your arteries that supply blood to the heart become clogged up with fatty substances, problems with the heart muscle and damage to the heart valves.

These different issues can cause various heart conditions and diseases. Some of these issues are out of your hands, you can be born with a heart problem, however, the majority can be impacted by different aspects of life. So, it is important to do all you can to prevent problems with your heart.

How can I keep my heart healthy?

Two incredibly easy ways to keep your heart healthy is exercise and healthy eating. Remember that your heart is a muscle, to keep it strong, you need to exercise it. Being active is the way to do so and you should try to be active every day. You should also try to avoid foods high in unhealthy fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats. This will help to prevent clogging up your arteries with fatty substances.

Pumping Marvellous

Taking the time to learn about your heart, how it works and how to keep it working is essential. Especially if you want to ensure that you and your loved ones go on to live happy, healthy and full lives. If you would like to learn more about your heart then the heart foundation charity Pumping Marvellous can help you.

Unfortunately, lots of people in the UK don’t have healthy hearts and many are living with heart failure. If you are worried about chronic heart failure or know anyone that has this condition and you are looking for support then Pumping Marvellous is here for you. We can help you to understand how heart failure can affect your life, different heart failure treatments and what happens next. We are here to support you every step of the way and will reduce the burden in any way that we can.