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HEART AND CIRCULATION

On average the heart beats 72 beats a

minute waking and 55 beats a minute sleeping.

Angina pectoris

Literally "strangling in the chest", angina is a severe, suffocating chest pain. It is the most common symptom of heart disease. An angina attack, similar to a heart attack, occurs when coronary arteries become partially blocked. Angina attacks are caused by arteriosclerosis, which obstructs the arteries and causes the heart to receive less oxygen. Since angina attacks feel quite similar to heart attacks, a person who is suffering from a genuine heart attack may dismiss it as a painful angina attack.

Congestive heart failure The heart's inability to keep blood flowing to the rest of the body, often because of valve defects. Some drugs are used to treat congestive heart failure

Circulatory diseases

Your circulatory system transports about 8,000 quarts of blood a day. Blood uses almost all the water you consume, maintaining the liquidity necessary to transport its red and white blood cells, platelets, cholesterol, sugar, salts, enzymes, fats and plasma. It moves through 60,000 miles of progressively smaller arteries and capillaries, unloading oxygen and nutrients and picking up carbon dioxide and waste products. Capillaries are so fine red blood cells squeeze through in single file. Skin flushes during exercise because capillaries are operating at full capacity. During sleep, more than 90 per cent close down. Blood also seals wounds and fights bacteria, viruses and other organisms.

Atherosclerosis

A buildup of fatty deposits formed by clumps of blood cells and cholesterol on the walls of arteries.

Anemia

A blood deficiency of red blood cells, hemoglobin or total volume.

Risk assessment

Heart disease kills more Americans than anything else. Until their late 40s men are at considerably greater risk than women. Women catch up after menopause, but studies show heart disease in women often goes unnoticed and untreated until it becomes severe. Here are some other high risk disorders that affect women, and some that affect men.

Heart diseases

The heart is a double pump, one pushing blood to the lungs, the other circulating it through the body. It pumps six quarts of blood a minute through our veins, arteries and capillaries. Oxygen-rich blood leaves the left ventricle via the aorta, and returns, deoxygenated, to the right auricle through two large veins (superior and inferior vena cavae). The right ventricle pumps this blood through the pulmonary artery to the lungs, where carbon dioxide is exchanged for oxygen. Oxygenated blood then returns to the left auricle of the heart, ready for another cycle.

Arrhythmia

A disturbance in the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. Arrhythmias can be mild or life threatening. Tachycardia, or fast heartbeat, can be caused by caffeine, shock, or emotional upset. Bradycardia, or slow heartbeat, is often present in athletes. Flutters and fibrillations, rapid uncoordinated contractions of the heart muscles, usually accompany heart disorders. Some drugs are used to treat arrhythmias.

Myocardial infarction

A heart attack, in which part of the heart muscle is damaged or killed by lack of blood supply.

Arteriosclerosis

Hardening of the arteries caused by calcium deposits. They become increasingly narrow and brittle, are less able to expand and contract, and impair the flow of blood. It is often the cause of heart attacks, because when fatty deposits from atherosclerosis collect on the walls of the arteries and cause blood to clot, the flow to the heart is obstructed.

Cerebrovascular accident

A stroke, caused by the disruption of blood flow to the brain.

Hypertension

Hypertension is caused by the heart pumping blood through the circulatory system with greater force than is necessary, creating high blood pressure.


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