The heart is roughly the size of a clenched fist and is located in the middle of your chest between tow lungs, tilted more to the left. This small, fist-size organ is one of the most critical organs of the body, the centre of the circulatory system and responsible for pumping blood and oxygen throughout the body. It also removes carbon-dioxide and waste products. With every breath that you take, you bring in fresh oxygen in the body through the lungs, the lungs                 deliver this oxygen to the blood and then the heart circulates the blood to the lungs and other body organs.

Structure of the Heart

The heart is made of three layers of tissues, namely:

  • Epicardium
  • Myocardium
  • Endocardium

These three layers are further protected by a thin outer lining known as the pericardium. It comprises of four chambers – two upper and two lower chambers, known as the atrium and the ventricles respectively. The right chambers including the right atrium and right ventricles are responsible for pumping blood to the lungs and supplying oxygen from the lungs to the left chambers of the heart consisting of left atrium and left ventricles. From the left chambers, the oxygenated blood is then pumped to the other parts of the body, enabling effective functioning. The cells from the other parts of the body return the blood (devoid of oxygen) to the right chambers of the heart, and then the process begins again. This whole functioning is referred to as the process of circulating blood in the body. The functioning is supported by blood vessels and valves, which collectively is known as the cardiovascular system. The cardiovascular system is the critical support of the body and hence, it is very important to ensure the heart is healthy and functioning well.

Heart problems and diseases are one of the primary causes of deaths in the country. One of the prime reasons apart from congenital or acquired heart diseases is the unhealthy lifestyle that leads to heart diseases or problems. An unhealthy lifestyle -involving lack of physical activity, consumption of excessive alcohol, smoking, high intake of fried food, obesity, drug abuse, lack of nutritional diet, etc. – is a very strong trigger for heart issues. It causes high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and several other issues, which ultimately compromise the functioning of the arteries by blocking, narrowing or in many severe cases causing a leakage that disturbs the functioning of the heart.

That said, it is possible to protect the heart by adopting certain health lifestyle changes. No matter what age or gender, a healthy lifestyle is the major step to avoid all kinds of heart problems and diseases. Some of the healthy lifestyle habits that one must practice are:

Indulge in Healthy Eating: Food defines the age of the heart, hence it is very important to feed it the right stuff to ensure proper and healthy heart functioning. Foods that are high in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, cholesterol, sugar, etc. should be avoided. Instead consumption of fresh fruits, green vegetables, fibre, whole grains, fish, nuts, etc. is extremely good for the heart and aids its running. Dairy products, red meat and poultry are also not a healthy option for the heart. Consume dry fruits and use less oil in cooking food. Also, the diet should be full of nutrition.

Increase Physical Activeness: One of the major causes of heart problemsis the lack of physical activity. No matter what age or gender, at least 30 minutes of any kind of physical activity is very essential to prevent heart issues. Medium to high workout level is critical to maintain the heart strength and burn that build up of plaque.

Get Regular check-ups done: A healthy lifestyle habit that should be implemented is to be aware about the heart’s health consistently by getting regular check-ups and examinations done. Heart-health screenings are necessary to keep a check on the level of blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate, body mass index and more. If the results indicate any variation from the normal range, proper methods of lifestyle change need to be put into practice to ensure the values are within normalcy. Alongside, it is also necessary to consult the doctor, and speak about your diet, lifestyle, variation in values, and more.

Avoid Smoking or even Passive Smoking: Smoke is one of the prime causes for disturbing the functioning of the heart. It damages the lining of the arteries causing fat to build up, which ultimately leads to narrowing of the artery and hampering of flow of blood in the body. Not just smokers but even non-smokers are highly subject to developing heart diseases due to prolonged exposure to smoke.

Reduce Stress: Today, stress is the cause of many health problems, especially the ones related with the matters of the heart. Stress increases heart rate and also shuffles the blood pressure, causing a lot of damage to the arteries. One could practice yoga, meditation or increase involvement in hobbies to reduce overall stress.

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity is one the major reasons for heart diseases and problems; and needs to be completely sorted.It increases chances of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, all of which have a very negative impact on the heart’s health. Instead workout each day, healthy eating, controlled calories intake, nutritional food helps maintain a healthy weight.

Limit Alcohol Intake: Excessive alcohol consumption increases chances of high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, stroke, irregular heartbeats, etc. Too much alcohol is also a contributor for obesity, alcoholism and more.

A healthy lifestyle is best way to maintain a healthy heart. That said, a fit lifestyle should not be a choice, it should be the way of life. Create and sustain healthy cycling habits in yourself and your family. Be more active, prefer outdoor over indoors, take a walk when possible, and always be alert for a happy heart.

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