The heart is located in the chest cavity. It is surrounded by a covering called the pericardium. The heart itself is divided into four chambers, called the right and left atria and the right and left ventricles.
The heart is connected to the rest of the body by means of VEINS which return to the lungs and the ARTERIES which pump blood to the body. The AORTA is the main artery coming out of the heart and receives blood under great pressure from it.
It is important to note that the heart itself needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients to work (much as a car needs gas to run). This is supplied by the CORONARY ARTERIES which run on the surface of the heart. They come out of the root of the aorta.
There are two coronary arteries: RIGHT AND LEFT. The left is the larger one and is deviled into the LEFT ANTERIOR DESCENDING and the LEFT CIRCUMFLEX.
The left anterior descending (abbreviated LAD) supplies the major portion of the heart including the front wall and most of the middle septum in the heart. Blockage developing in this artery is serious because the resulting heart attack can be large and serious.
The left CIRCUMFLEX supplies the side of the heart. The RIGHT CORONARY ARTERY supplies the lower part of the heart. In some people this artery is large and can supply the side of the heart as well. It can also be extremely small.
How the heart works:
The main function of the heart is to pump blood containing oxygen and nutrients to the body. The blood is first pumped to the lungs to pick up oxygen and then to the rest of the body. Blood flows inside the heart in an orderly fashion, first going to the right atrium, then to the right ventricle, then to the lungs and finally to the left atrium and left ventricle.
The heart beats almost like a clock, about 60 to 80 times per minute, CONTINUOUSLY, whether you are asleep or awake. The heartbeat is regulated by a small "battery" located in the right atrium called the SINUS NODE. Electric currents travel in the heart by means of minute fiber's in the wall of the heart, much like concealed wiring inside a room.
Simple Dietary Guidelines for Heart Healthy Eating
Suggestions to help lower your fat, cholesterol and sodium intake.
At Heart Specialty Associates, we believe in the importance of education for preventing cardiovascular disease. We recommend the following websites to receive more information about cardiovascular disease, and heart health:
Heart Healthy Nutrition
Cardiac Cath and Intervention
Peripheral Vascular Disease