The circulatory system is an intricately designed transportation network that provides vital nourishment and removes waste from every cell in the human body. The heart lies at the centre of this complex. Within in about three weeks of conception, the heart of the developing embryo begins to beat and continues to beat more than three billion times during an average lifespan, never stopping except for a brief fraction of a second between beats. It is truly one of the hardest working muscles in the body.
Snuggled between the lungs and centrally located behind the sternum (breast bone), this muscular dual pump serves two functions, receiving and distribution. The right side of the heart receives deoxygenated blood from the periphery and sends it to the lungs where carbon dioxide is dropped off and fresh oxygen is picked up for distribution by the left side of the heart to all parts of the body. An average of five to six litres of blood is in circulation at any one time. It contains many nutrients, hormones and immune boosters to keep cells operating at peak efficiency.
A heart attack occurs when a blood vessel that supplies a portion of the heart becomes blocked by plaque or a clot. The muscle cells in this region die causing the heart to become less effective at pumping blood.
Symptoms of a heart attack include (not exclusively): chest pain; difficulty breathing; abdominal or back pain; cold sweaty skin; bluish or paler than normal skin; nausea and vomiting; denial; jaw pain.
Sadly, cardiovascular disease is still the number one trigger for heart attacks in North America. Yet, there so many ways to prevent it such as eating a well-balanced diet; watching your weight; daily exercise; managing stress, and stopping smoking. Please speak with your healthcare provider to find out more about strategies for keeping you heart healthy!