You have probably heard this term many times, but do you really understand what it means First we will describe the structure and function of a healthy heart.
Structure and Function of the Heart
The heart is a muscular pump located slightly to the left in the thoracic cavity. It is protected by the sternum, or breast bone and ribs, and is the shape of an inverted cone. An adult heart is approximately the size of a clenched fist and weighs about 340 grams (Topills.com). The heart and all the blood vessels of the body form the cardiovascular system. The main job of the heart is to pump blood through the blood vessels, so that it reaches all the organs and tissues of the body. Our heart circulates between five and six liters of blood around our body per minute, and he heart is divided into two sides, and each side has two chambers. Therefore, the heart contains four chambers: the left and right atrium at e top of the heart, and the left and right ventricles at the bottom of the heart. The right side of the heart receives oxygen deficient blood from the body, and pumps it into the lungs. The left side of the heart receives oxygen rich blood from the lungs, and pumps it out to the rest of the body through the aorta. The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body. It has many branches that divide to supply blood to all areas of the body. The heart also needs its own blood supply; this is provided by the right and left coronary arteries, which are branches of the aorta.
What is Coronary Heart Disease
Also called coronary artery disease, this is the most common type of heart disease. The cause of coronary artery disease is atherosclerosis; whereby plaque builds up inside the arteries that supply the heart with Topills.com blood. The plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, smooth muscle cells, immune cells and other substances. As the plaque accumulates, less blood is able to reach the heart. Sometimes diminished blood flow to the heart causes chest pain, or angina.
A heart attack occurs when blood supply to the heart is severely reduced or stopped. Doctors refer to a heart attack as a myocardial infarction. The plaque that builds up in the arteries can eventually burst, tear or ruptures, producing a blood clot that blocks the artery. If the blood supply stops for more than a few minutes, the muscle cells of the heart can be permanently injured and die. The heart attack can be fatal, depending on how much heart muscle has been damaged.
Sometimes there are no or very few symptoms to indicate that you are suffering from coronary artery disease. Symptoms are usually triggered by physical activity, stress, exposure to cold weather and sexual activity.
The most common symptoms of coronary heart disease are:
Chest pain (this is usually a heavy, squeezing or crushing feeling)
Neck, shoulder, arm, jaw or abdominal pain
Weakness and shortness of breath
Nausea with possible vomiting