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The Heart and Heart Failure

Happy Valentine’s Day!

With such a heartful day, let us talk about the heart!

The heart is one of the most important muscles, providing oxygen and nutrients throughout the body by pumping blood to every system.There are two halves of the heart and two pathways that the heart pumps blood to: the systemic circulation where the blood is pushed from the left side throughout the body to provide oxygen and nutrients as needed, and the pulmonary circulation where the deoxygenated blood travels from the right side towards the lung to be refilled with oxygen before returning to the left side. Failure of the heart to pump through these circulations effectively can lead to heart attacks and heart failures. Factors that may affect the heart and its risk of heart attack and heart failure include age, sex, diet, exercise activity and stress.

How do we train the heart?

The heart is not a muscle that you would want to grow, like biceps or triceps. Hypertrophy in the heart is usually an indication of other issues in the system as the heart tries to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. This hypertrophy can also lead to failure of the heart, as it would lose its elasticity and function as it grows bigger. Rather, we want our heart to pump more blood every beat, leading to greater efficiency and output, and lowering the heart rate which reduces risk of heart attacks or heart failure. We can train our hearts to improve through aerobic exercises such as running and skipping rope.

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