An Educational Series to Learn about Heart Health and Heart Diseases by Dr. Vijaiganesh Nagarajan (VJ)
Part – 1 Basics About Our Heart
As a cardiologist, I believe the heart is the most important organ in our body and my goal is to spread the basic knowledge about heart diseases to our people. Before we discuss common cardiac diseases, it is essential to have basic knowledge about our heart.
The heart is a muscular organ located in the middle of the chest, more towards the left side. Its major role is to pump blood to all the organs in the body. The heart has 4 chambers, two on the right and two on the left. The top chambers are called ‘atrium’ and bottom chambers are called ‘ventricles’.
Left sided heart chambers do the critical part of pumping blood all over the body, through the largest blood vessel in the body called ‘Aorta’. Blood takes oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and comes back to the heart through ‘veins’. When blood comes back to right side of the heart, it lacks oxygen, as it got absorbed. To regain oxygen, right side of heart pumps blood into the lungs where it gets oxygenated before it reaches the left side. Then the cycle continues…… for life.
The heart is also a muscle that needs oxygen and nutrients. It gets them through small arteries called ‘coronary arteries’ which supply blood to the heart. There are three major coronary arteries on all our hearts. When any one of these arteries gets blocked, people develop a ‘heart attack’. There are also ‘valves’ within the heart to direct the blood, but which will be discussed in detail in another section.
For the heart to beat constantly throughout life it needs a generator which can never fail; this is called the ‘SA Node’. Then electricity spreads through different circuits to reach all parts of the heart. These electric signals are picked and amplified by the ‘electrocardiogram’ which is commonly called as ‘EKG or ECG’.
To over simplify common cardiac diseases, we can say:
- Blocked heart arteries cause ‘heart attack’
- Weakened heart muscles cause ‘heart failure’
- Abnormal electrical conduction causes ‘abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmias)
- When heart completely stops, it is called a ‘cardiac arrest’
Dr. Vijaiganesh Nagarajan is currently accepting patients.
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1601 Main Street Ste. 502
Richmond, TX 77469