Your heart is a pump that is responsible for delivering blood to all parts of your body. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to nourish the cells, and veins transport oxygen-poor blood on its way back to the heart and lungs. This animation shows how the heart and circulatory system work.
The heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood throughout your body. It is positioned behind the lungs, slightly to the left side of the chest. Your heart is a bit larger than the size of your fist. Let's examine the structures of the heart and learn how blood travels through this complex organ.
Most of us never stop to think how our heart and circulation really works. However, when you understand the basics of circulation, you can make much better decisions about your heart health, disease prevention, and treatment options for heart disease. Here's an illustrated one minute overview of the basics of circulation from the American Heart Association.
Coronary artery spasm is a type of angina. Angina is pain that is caused by the heart muscles not getting enough blood. A sudden spasm or narrowing of a blood vessel that supplies the heart causes angina by reducing the amount of oxygen the heart receives. Coronary artery spasms often cause pain. Sometimes severe spasms can lead to irregular heartbeats. They can even cause heart attack, also known as acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and sudden death.
When a person has a cardiac arrest, survival depends on immediately receiving CPR from someone nearby. According to the American Heart Association, about 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim's chance of survival. © AHA
Someone close to you has just had a heart attack, stroke or heart procedure. To help you handle your feelings, it's good to be aware of them and to share them with people you trust. Talk with members of your family, friends, people where you worship and healthcare providers. You and your loved one may also benefit from joining a support group for patients and their families. A heart attack, stroke or heart operation affects the whole family — not just the patient. © AHA
As a caregiver, you have a higher risk for health and emotional problems. That's because caregivers are less likely to attend to their own health by eating a healthy diet, getting physical activity and treating physical and emotional problems. It may feel like your first responsibility is to your loved one, but it's really to yourself. Learn to organize your duties as a caregiver. Find the time to take care of your own health. It will help you do a better job for your loved one. © AHA
Caring for someone you love after a heart or stroke can be hard. The responsibilities and the emotional stress can cause you to forget to take care of yourself. These rights will help you remember that you have a right to health and happiness, even when you're caring for someone else. They'll help you realize that the emotions and pressures you may be feeling are normal. © AHA
Caregiver burnout is caused by long-term stress that can affect your physical, emotional and mental well-being. You become overwhelmed trying to meet the constant demands of your caregiving role. It can have a negative effect on how you care for yourself and your loved one. Your health and well-being benefit your loved one just as they benefit you. Learn the signs of caregiver burnout and seek help if you're having them. © AHA
As a caregiver to someone who has had a stroke, it is common to go through a number of emotions. In the beginning the main effort needs to be put into engaging the survivor in rehabilitation and making a big effort there. That push is one that will make a difference in the future. © AHA