World Heart Day – Love Your Heart!
Today is World Heart Day! Today, we celebrate our hearts; after all, the fist-sized organ pumps life through our bodies nonstop. The heart never stops working, but that doesn’t mean it’s in tip-top shape; there is a chance that even if you’re not experiencing symptoms, you can still be at risk for Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). By learning more about the heart’s structure and how it works, we can build a more in-depth relationship with our hearts. By knowing our bodies, we can have a happier and healthier life—it is the least we can do for our hard-working, four-chambered friend.
How does my heart work?
The heart is a muscular organ and a component of the circulatory system. The wall of the heart has three layers: the outer layer (the epicardium), the middle layer (the myocardium), and the inner layer (the endocardium). The heart is enclosed in a double-membraned sac called the pericardium. The heart’s job is to receive blood from the veins and push it through the arteries, delivering oxygen and nutrients to the body. The heart receives signals from the brain that regulate its rate, and the heart’s rhythm is determined by a group of cells located in the right atrium (called the sinus node).
Did you know?
- Your left lung is smaller to accommodate the position of the heart
- An electrical system controls your heart
- Your heart will beat on average 115,000 times each day
Living Healthy is Key to Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease
You may think your heart is in fine shape because you can’t feel anything that would say otherwise, but alas, the heart may be silent even when it’s not feeling well. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States and the number one deadliest silent killer. CVD includes diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels. According to the World Health Organization, “Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels, and they include:
- Coronary heart disease—a disease of the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle
- Cerebrovascular disease—a disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain
- Peripheral arterial disease—a disease of the blood vessels supplying the arms and legs
- Rheumatic heart disease—damage to the heart muscle and heart valves from rheumatic fever, caused by streptococcal bacteria
- Congenital heart disease—malformations of heart structure existing at birth
- Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism—blood clots in the leg veins, which can dislodge and move to the heart and lungs”
For the most part, cardiovascular disease can be prevented. It is important to stay healthy and follow these lifestyle suggestions as recommended by the American Heart Association:
- Healthy living
- Eat smart—add color to your diet, manage portions, and check for the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Mark Certification
- Move more—set doable goals, sit less, and try to get 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise each week
- Be well—stay hydrated and get enough sleep
How to Love Your Heart More
As we go through February, take the time to learn if you have any risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as genetic factors, age, gender, or tobacco use (among others). If you find yourself saying yes to risk factors, you should make an appointment to speak with your doctor. With your doctor, you may want to evaluate your lifestyle and be prepared to make changes:
- Could you be eating a little healthier?
- Are you moving and exercising enough?
- Is your blood pressure or cholesterol too high?
- Do you smoke?
- Are you over-stressed?
- Do you need to lower your alcohol consumption?
Next-Generation Treatment Through Clinical Trials
If you and your healthcare team are looking for next-generation treatment for your cardiovascular issues, it may be the perfect time to pursue clinical research as a care option. Our mission at Circuit Clinical is to transform the way people find, choose, and participate in clinical research. One of the ways we do that is by bringing research to communities that have historically been underrepresented. In creating access to clinical trials right at your doctor's office, people can have more options when it comes to their healthcare; including the care of their heart!
Your heart is an important muscle in your body. Now is the time to take action and promote your heart’s health.