How the Healthy Heart Works

Our heart is a great organ. It always pumps oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout your body to live life. This fist-sized organ beats (expands and contracts) 100,000 times per day, pumping five or six quarts of blood each minute, or about 2,000 gallons per day.
With heart failure, the heart’s pumping power is weaker than normal, causing less blood to flow through the heart and to the body. This decreased blood flow throughout the body is what causes the symptoms of heart failure.

How Does Blood Flow Through the Heart?

As the heart beats, it pumps blood through a system of blood vessels, called the circulatory system. The vessels are elastic tubes that carry blood to every part of the body.
Blood is important. Besides carrying fresh oxygen from the lungs and nutrients to your body’s tissues, it also takes the body’s waste products, including carbon dioxide, away from the tissues. This is necessary to sustain life and promote the health of all the body’s tissues.
There are 3 main types of blood vessels:
  • Arteries: Arteries begin with the aorta, the large artery leaving the heart. Arteries convey oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to all of the body’s tissues. They branch several times, becoming smaller and smaller as they carry blood farther from the heart and into organs.
  • Capillaries: Capillaries are small, thin blood vessels that connect the arteries and the veins. Their thin walls allow oxygen, nutrients, carbon dioxide, and other waste products to pass to and from our organ’s cells.
  • Veins: The veins are blood vessels that take blood back to the heart; this blood lacks oxygen and is rich in waste products that are to be excreted or removed from the body. Veins become larger and larger as they get closer to the heart. The superior vena cava is the large vein that brings blood from the head and arms to the heart, and the inferior vena cava brings blood from the abdomen and legs into the heart.
  •                                                                                                        Blood Vessels
This big system of blood vessels — arteries, veins, and capillaries — is over 60,000 miles long. That’s long enough to go around the world more than twice!
Blood flows continuously through your body’s blood vessels. Our heart is the pump that makes it all possible.
Where is the heart- It’s located under the rib cage, to the left of your breastbone (sternum) and between your lungs.