The Human Heart
What Is The Heart?
The heart is a muscular organ responsible for pumping oxygenated blood through the blood vessels with repeat, rhythmic contractions. The human heart is located in the center of your chest, slightly offset to the left side. The average adult's heart is 9-12 ounces, or about the size of a clenched fist. It consists of four chambers, the two upper atria and the two lower ventricles, and four valves which open and close to let the blood flow through the heart in only one direction.
The right side of the heart collects oxygen-depleted blood and pumps the blood into the lungs so that carbon dioxide can be dropped off and fresh oxygen picked up. The left side of the heart collects the freshly-oxygenated blood and pumps it out to the body.
Importance of Heart Health
Because the brain relies on a steady supply of oxygenated blood, the heart is one of the most vital organs in a person's body. Some of the disease and conditions that put your heart health at risk include:
- High cholesterol
- Congenital heart disease (heart defects)
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
Leading a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Eating a nutritious diet, managing your weight and exercising regularly will help promote heart health.
Most importantly, call 911 if you think it's a life-threatening situation or contact a medical professional if you have additional questions, or think you might be experiencing heart attack symptoms.