How the heart works
● Heart is small, only about the size of clenched fist. Located between the lungs in the
middle of chest, called pericardial cavity.
● Heart has three layers.
○ A thin outer layer epicardium
○ Middle layer- the myocardium
○ Thin, smooth inner layer endocardium
● Interior of the heart has open spaces called chambers. Upper chamber- atrium and
lower chamber is called ventricle.
● Un oxygenated blood enters the heart through the right atrium. It moves through valve
into right ventricle. From there it pumps into the pulmonary artery and enters into lungs.
In lungs it picks up the fresh oxygen and drops off carbon dioxide to be exhaled. Form
there the blood is pumped into the left atrium and through another set of valves it is
pumped into the left ventricle. Left ventricle is the most powerful pump and forces the
oxygenated blood into the entire body.
● Mind- body connection plays major role in heart health. How one responds to everyday
stress is important factor.
● There are three psychological risk factors. Chronic, episodic and acute. These factors
can influence behaviors such as smoking, diet, alcohol consumption and physical
● Depression anger and hostility and personality types contribute significantly in growth of
CV problems. Control of them can help in treatments of cardiac disease.
Inflammation and heart problems
● Inflammation and C- reactive protein can contribute in heart related illnesses. It
contributes in the development of atherosclerosis and sets the stage for heart attack,
stroke and other forms of heart attack. Main cause for inflammation is smoking, lack of
exercise, high fat and high calories meals and highly processed foods
Arteriosclerosis- hardening of arteries. The most common form is Atherosclerosis. A disease of
lining of arteries in which plaque, deposits of fat, cholesterol, calcium narrow the artery channel.
LDL plays major role in hardening of arteries. Narrows arteries reduce blood flow and produce
angina also known as chest pain. Blood clots can cause major problems in circulation and can
cause kidney failure and circulation problems.
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
● “Myocardium” is the cardiac muscle layer. If it is deprived of oxygen- muscle can begin
● Symptoms of heart attack