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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Human Body The Human Body Arrow to Circulatory System Circulatory System Arrow to The Heart The Heart

Heart diagram
Diagram illustrating major parts
of the human heart in cross section.

The heart is the body's power house, a muscle that has regular, rhythmic contractions that keep blood pumping 24/7 throughout the body's circulatory system.

The heart keeps the beat about 72 times per minute — as it pumps 2,000 gallons of blood a day to thousands of miles of large arteries, smaller veins and tiny capillaries.

How the heart works

Just like an electric pump, your heart works using its own electrical system to contract the heart's walls.

These on-off contractions are what keeps the body's "juices" flowing, with the heart's inlet and outlet valves ensuring that blood flows in the right direction to and from all areas of your body.

Unfortunately, if high blood pressure or other conditions result in a weakened heart, your body’s organs won’t receive enough nutrients to function normally and thereby trigger more harm.

Have a heart - keep it healthy

Since the heart is so vital, keeping it strong and working properly is probably the best thing we can do for our overall health, especially as we age

In the Western world heart disease has reached epidemic proportions, but with a few simple changes the chances of heart damage can be drastically reduced.

Obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure are all major risk factors for the many heart related illnesses that exist. Fortunately for us, there are two simple things we can all do to thwart all three of these risk factors:

  • The first one is diet and nutrition, a huge contributor to poor heart health among a whole host of other related health problems. A good rule of thumb for all of us to follow is to not eat things out of boxes, and to eat less meat and carbs, and to eat more fruits and vegetables. Following this simple rule will go a long way towards a healthier heart.

  • The other simple thing we can all do to keep our hearts healthy is to exercise, every day. Whatever activity it is that you prefer to do, get out and try to do it at least once a day — and it doesn't have to be sports or jogging. Even walking qualifies as an excellent way to keep the heart rate elevated and the heart muscle in optimum condition.

also see in Health -> Homosysteine levels

Resveratrol for heart health

More about the human heart around the Web:

Heart Anatomy
- Check out a full color illustration & Flash animation with information on the heart valves and circulatory system, with related resources, from the Texas Heart Institute.

Heart Information, Cardiovascular Facts, News, Photos - National Geographic - Learn more about how the heart works via an interactive animation, illustrating heart contractions, blood flow, and the effects of exercise on the heart, with related printables.

Learning About Your Heart - Find suggested resources from Education including kid-friendly virtual tours and related health sites.

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