When it comes to the health of your heart, it helps to have basic understanding of its structure. This is especially true if you’ve been diagnosed with a specific problem that stems from your heart’s anatomy. Let’s discuss the structure of your most important muscle in very simple terms.

heart-how-it-works

Your heart is made up of four chambers. The right atrium and ventricle help to circulate blood through the lungs. The left atrium and ventricle help to circulate blood to the rest of your body.

So the blood that’s on the right side of your heart is depleted of its oxygen and the blood that flows through the left side of your heart is oxygen-rich. The atria receive blood into the heart and the ventricles pump blood out of it.

Between these four chambers there are valves. These valves help to keep blood flowing in the right direction. They also prevent it from slipping back to the wrong chamber when the heart is at rest. In a sense, they are one-way doors.

The cells of the heart are specialized and actually will beat on their own. To make sure that they all beat at the right time, the heart has a special area called a pacemaker. This is located in the right atrium of the heart and is called the SA node. It sends an electrical impulse to regulate your heartbeat.

The heart is the central organ of the circulatory system. The entire system works together to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the cells. At the same time it picks up wastes and carbon dioxide from the cells. In order to do this, blood vessels provide a transportation network for delivery.

The left ventricle empties blood out into the aorta – the strongest artery in the body. It carries the blood away from the heart and branches off into smaller arteries and eventually blood makes its way to the capillaries.

At the capillaries the blood makes its exchanges and then returns to the heart through the veins. The vena cava is the major vein that returns blood to the heart. There are also pulmonary arteries and veins that transport blood from the heart to the lungs and then back again.

The heart may seem like a simple structure, but it can actually be quite complicated because of its many structures and its essential functions. The heart is the most efficient pump on earth – no manmade structure can come close to its efficiency and longevity.

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