The human heart is a very complex, intricate organ that plays a pivotal role in sustaining life. The heart is comprised of a variety of structures, each with a specific function and purpose. As the orchestrator of the body’s circulatory system, a healthy heart is critical for overall wellbeing.
Appreciating and understanding the role each structure plays can motivate us to adopt heart-healthy habits. Here’s a comprehensive guide for caring for each heart component:
CHAMBERS AND VALVES
Role: The heart consists of four chambers: right atria, right ventricle, left atria and left ventricle, each playing a vital role in blood circulation. Valves, including the tricuspid, pulmonic, mitral and aortic, act as gatekeepers, ensuring blood flows in the right direction. This orchestrated process involves receiving deoxygenated blood, oxygenating it through the lungs and then distributing oxygenated blood throughout the body with each heartbeat.
Care tips: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including proper diet and exercise, and avoiding smoking contribute significantly to the overall wellbeing of the heart chambers and valves, promoting a healthier cardiovascular system.
CORONARY ARTERIES AND BLOOD VESSELS
Role: Arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to the entire body, and veins return deoxygenated blood to the heart, completing the circulatory cycle. The coronary arteries’ specific purpose is to deliver blood to the heart muscle.
Care tips: To enhance blood flow, avoid smoking and maintain a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins while minimizing processed foods, added sugars and excessive salt. Engage in some sort of physical activity regularly, and keep your body moving to improve overall cardiovascular health.
FEBRUARY IS ALL ABOUT THE HEART!
Your heart is the hardest-working organ in your body, and February is American Heart Month — an ideal time to celebrate it and show it some extra love! Wear red on Feb. 2, which is National Wear Red Day, to bring awareness the number-one killer of women: cardiovascular disease. To learn more, visit www.goredforwomen.org.
Maintaining a balance of water and electrolytes is crucial for the proper functioning of the conduction system.
Role: The heart is a powerful muscle that plays a pivotal role in receiving, oxygenating and pumping blood throughout the body.
Care tips: Managing factors like high blood pressure, excessive alcohol consumption, coronary artery diseases and diabetes is essential to maintain the heart’s effective pumping function. Healthy lifestyle choices positively contribute to optimal cardiac health.
ELECTRICAL CONDUCTION SYSTEM
Role: The heart’s rhythm and contractions are regulated by the electrical conduction system, including the SA Node, AV Node, Bundle of His and Purkinje Fibers.
Care tips: Maintaining a balance of water and electrolytes is crucial for the proper functioning of the conduction system. Avoiding stimulants that can accelerate the heart rate ensures the system operates at an appropriate pace.
Singing River Health System offers a comprehensive Structural Heart Program, through which patients receive the latest technology in minimally invasive procedures on the structures of the heart. Please visit SingingRiverHealthSystem.com to learn more.