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An Inside Look at Heart Disease

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You know how important your heart is, so it is no wonder people worry when they hear someone has heart problems. More than 60 million Americans have some form of heart disease. The heart is an amazing organ. Its job is to pump oxygen and nutrient rich blood throughout the body to sustain life. In fact, this fist sized organ beats, or expands and contracts, 100,000 times per day. It pumps five to six quarts of blood each minute or about 2,000 gallons per day. That’s a lot of blood. Blood is essential. It carries fresh oxygen from the lungs and nutrients to the body’s tissues. It also takes the body’s waste products, like carbon dioxide, away from the tissues. (“How the Heart Works”)

The heart is a four chambered, hollow organ about the size of your fist. The atria, make up the top two chambers. They receive blood from the veins. The ventricles make up the two bottom chambers. These chambers pump blood into the arteries. The heart is the center of the cardiovascular system. (“How the Heart Works”)

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, is a group of problems that occur when the heart and blood vessels are not working the way they should. When the coronary arteries narrow, blood has a hard time reaching the heart. This causes the heart muscle to ache, like any other muscle in the body. If the arties continue to narrow, it puts stress on the heart which provokes symptoms of heart disease. Heart disease is not contagious. You cannot catch it from someone else. There are a lot of factors that increase a person’s chances of getting heart disease. People do not have control over some of these factors like getting older, or having family members who have had the same problems. But they do have control over some of these fa...

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