Your heart is the center of your cardiovascular system, and it is vitally responsible for just about everything that gives your body life, ranging from the transportation of oxygen to the success of your immune system. However, the foods you eat and the amount of activity you choose to take part in can dramatically affect the overall health of your heart and the many other tissues that make up your cardiovascular system.
The heart is located in the center of the chest cavity, just to the left of the midline of the body. You need to understand the following important parts. Called the myocardium, myo = muscle and cardium = heart; pronounced my-o-car-dee-um, this muscle contracts and relaxes to pump blood throughout the cardiovascular system.
The coronary arteries. Three large coronary arteries and their many branches deliver a continuous supply of oxygenated blood to the heart. Narrowing of these arteries causes chest pain; blockage causes heart attack.
Your blood pressure is one area of heart health that needs to be regularly checked and regulated. High blood pressure, or hypertension, can be affected by your overall weight, especially once you reach a body mass index score of 30 or higher. This score is classified as obese. Excess fat increases the work your heart has to perform to pump blood throughout your body. The harder your heart works, the more pressure is placed on the walls of your arteries, which can increase your risk for blood vessel damage. Lowering your body weight by even as little as 5 to 10 percent can lower your blood pressure and increase your heart health.
The pumping chambers. The heart’s job is to pump blood to the lungs to get oxygen and to pump the oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. To fulfill these tasks, the heart has a left and a right side, each with one main pumping chamber called a ventricle located in the lower part of it.