How Does Heart Work?

Posted On Jun 21, 2022

Department of Cardiology

Manipal Hospitals

Cardiology Hospital in Bangalore

How Does The Heart Work?

The muscular organ that continuously pumps blood throughout the body and helps in providing oxygen in each of the organs for their proper functionality is known as the heart. The heart usually sends nutrients to all the body parts and carries away unwanted carbon dioxide and waste products. Being a fist-sized organ with four chambers consisting of two right atriums and two left ventricles, the heart is considered the most important organ in regards to the whole cardiovascular system present in the human body. Along with pumping blood it also collaborates with other bodily systems to regulate blood pressure and heart rate in a human body. 

The circulatory system is a network of blood vessels which is basically elastic, muscular tubes that help in carrying blood in the whole body. As the heart beats blood pumps and gets transferred to each of the body parts. Per day in respect of each minute this powerhouse beats (expands and contracts) 100,000 times pumping five or six quarts of blood, or per day pumps around 2,000 gallons. So, considering it can be said that the heart is the most important organ in the human body and its improper functionality can risk the performance of other organs and may lead to any kind of complications. 

What is a Heart Attack? 

To survive and function appropriately the heart muscle needs oxygen. When the blood flow that supplies oxygen to the heart muscle is significantly lowered or entirely stopped, a heart attack usually takes place. The main reason behind the occurrence of heart attack is the accumulation of fat, cholesterol, and other compounds in the coronary arteries which mainly feed the heart muscle with blood flow. This building-up of compounds, which is also known as plaque narrows down the gap of the arteries which in regards, which hampers the blood flow to the heart. Atherosclerosis is the name given to this slow process. Within a heart artery if the plaque breaks it forms a blood clot around the plaque and leads to blockage in the blood flow through the artery to the heart muscle. Due to the interrupted blood flow, the heart muscles get starved for oxygen and nutrients and resulting in Ischemia. This ischemia in regards sometimes causes death or damage to the heart muscle which is familiar as a heart attack. Manipal Hospitals provides the best heart attack treatment in Bangalore equipped with world-class facilities and technologies to take care of all your needs.

What is Cardiac arrest?

cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating suddenly and leads to an abrupt loss of heart function, consciousness, and breathing. It is also known as sudden cardiac arrest. In this case, due to some problem in the heart's electrical system, the pumping action of the heart gets interrupted which accordingly stops blood flow to the brain and other organs and leads to unconsciousness, disability or death of the person. Cardiac arrest and heart attack are not the same things, the sudden interruption or block in blood flow to the heart mainly accelerates such a problem. Sudden cardiac arrest can result in death if it is not immediately addressed. It is possible to survive with prompt, competent medical care. Visit Manipal Hospitals if you are looking for the best cardiologists for cardiac arrest treatment in Bangalore.

Cardiac Arrest V/s Heart attack.

The terms ‘cardiac arrest’ and ‘heart attack’ are two different heart conditions though often used interchangeably. Heart attack is basically a state of blockage or significant narrowing of a coronary artery, causing tissue damage to an area of heart muscle due to lack of oxygen whereas, interruption of mechanical activity of the heart, is caused by a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system is known as cardiac arrest. A heart attack may be accompanied by arrhythmias that do not cause loss of mechanical heartbeats but on the other hand in the case of cardiac arrest one is incapable of generating a mechanical heartbeat or a complete lack of a heart rhythm is usually observable. So, in simple words, it can be signified that a heart attack occurs when blood flow totally gets blocked in the heart and on the other hand cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and unexpectedly stops beating. 

Heart Disease Statistics

The major causes of death in India are cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). More than 2 million fatalities per year are visible in India due to CVDs. The majority of these cases (almost 80%) which are increasing in rural regions are caused by coronary heart disease and stroke. According to studies the population in India experiences CVDs 10-15 years earlier compared to the west. To combat CVDs better healthcare facilities, regular check-ups, and education awareness are essential. Lack of quality care, ignorance, smoking, and poverty is thought to be the main contributing factors to any cardiovascular issue in India. So, it is very important to create awareness among the general people. 

Risk Factors of CVDs?

A person's risk of acquiring cardiovascular disease can be increased by a number of events, circumstances, behaviours, or habits, such as inactivity, poor eating habits, smoking, diabetes, old age, and a person's family history. Into two different categories cardiovascular disease risk factors are usually divided: modifiable and non-modifiable. Risk factors that cannot be changed are known as Non-modifiable cardiovascular disease. These mainly include a person’s family history (genetics cannot be changed), age, and ethnicity, among other factors. On the other hand, risk factors that can be reduced or controlled with altered behaviour are known as Modifiable cardiovascular disease. People are able to lower their chances of developing cardiovascular disease only by making certain changes in lifestyle such as maintaining their diet, decreasing their smoking habits, and proper exercise.

  • An unhealthy diet increases the risk of various CVDs.

  • As cardiovascular disease has a genetic component, having a family history of the disease is regarded as a risk factor.

  • A family history of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), and high cholesterol can also increase one’s chances of developing the risk of cardiovascular disease

  • Older people are at higher risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases 

  • Not exercising regularly increases the chances of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and another condition which increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases

  • Being overweight or obese can increase the possibility of getting CVDs

  • Smoking is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular diseases

  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are linked to a range of cardiovascular diseases

  • Diabetes damage artery walls and cause a build-up of fatty deposits (atheroma) which increase the risk of CVDs

Cardiovascular Disease Treatment in Bangalore is available at Manipal Hospitals which provides the latest and the most innovative surgical treatment for any type of cardiac and thoracic condition.

What does a heart attack feel like?

Here are some of the most common symptoms of a heart attack, though it is important to note that these symptoms may vary from person to person. 

  • Pressure, tightness, pain, or aching sensation that usually begins in the chest and spreads to the neck, jaw, or back, while resting or maybe during physical activity. Though it has been found and reported that men are more prone to such risks and it is not that common in women. 

  • Pain mainly radiates out to the arm and is usually followed by pain in the entire left side of the body. The pain can initiate from one or both arms or maybe from the shoulders as well

  • Dizziness and light-headedness accompanied by shortness of breath 

  • Unexplained sweating without doing any physical work

  • Sudden coughing with a white or pink mucus

  • An irregular heartbeat for more than a few minutes 

  • Slower or faster pulse

  • Nausea, indigestion, vomiting, stomach ache, etc. are some other related symptoms of getting any CVD-related issue and is more common in women

Important Note:

The more the number of symptoms, the higher the possibility of a heart attack. For some people, the symptoms may vary accordingly and they may even notice warning signs weeks before the attack.

Angina or recurrent chest pain that occurs during exertion and is relieved with rest is one such warning sign.

Golden Hour and Golden Seconds

The first hour after the onset of a heart attack is known as the golden hour. Most deaths and cardiac arrests occur within this period, but if a person reaches the hospital in this time frame and starts the medical treatments, a near-complete recovery may be expected.

As within 90 minutes of clotting, the heart muscles begin to die, it is important to take necessary measures during that particular time. The faster the normal blood flow is established, the lesser the damage to the heart is expected. However, in case of a cardiac arrest, the person used to get a lesser time frame and so, immediate action should be taken within a few golden seconds.

What to do before paramedics arrive? 

  • It is important to immediately call the local emergency number (22 22 11 11 or 108) if one or more symptoms of a heart attack are visible. 

  • The symptoms should not be ignored and on an immediate basis, it is needed for someone to drive the affected person to a nearby hospital.

  • Ask the patient to chew and swallow Aspirin unless allergic to aspirin or if the doctor has forbidden it.

  • If the affected person has been prescribed nitro-glycerine, immediately after witnessing the symptoms it is needed to take as prescribed. Though the patient of the CVD affected person should not intake someone else’s nitro-glycerine as it can put the person even in more danger. 

  • At the beginning, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) can be given to the affected person if the person is unconscious. 

  • Chest compression for about 100 per minute is better than mouth-to-mouth breathing in such emergency cases. So, anyone trained with the measures should start with chest compression first.

  •  In such cases, if the AED (automated external defibrillators) is available to perform, after setting up the device and then carefully following the instructions this severe chronic issue can be rectified. 

Difference between CPR and AED


CPR stands for Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and is an emergency procedure that combines chest compression with artificial ventilation to preserve intact brain function until further steps are taken to restore the blood flow.
CPR combines external breathing with chest compressions ( about 100 per minute) to keep the blood flowing through the body

AED stands for an automatic external defibrillator which is an easy-to-use medical device that can analyze. The heart’s rhythm delivers an electrical shock. If necessary to re-establish a proper rhythm. Both CPR and AED are extremely useful and lifesaving when comes to CVDs


The following procedures are used for the diagnosis of cardiovascular conditions:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG): It Measures the heart rate and rhythm and shows the damage that occurred to the heart muscles 
  • Blood tests: These determine the levels of cardiac enzymes released when the heart muscle is damaged 
  • Coronary angiography: This Procedure uses contrast to ye determine the blockages get in the coronary arteries

Besides, there are other tests like echocardiogram and treadmill tests which are done to evaluate the condition of the heart.

Healthy Heart Tips

Here are a few hearts-smart tips to boost the function go your heart:

  • Eat Healthily: Food is of particular significance when it comes to heart health. Avoid unhealthy fats, cut down on salt, and include copious amounts of fruits and vegetables in your diet. 

  • Stay Active:  there are various activities one may include like walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, trekking, doing cardio workouts at the gym, etc to keep the heart healthy and efficient. Exercising for just 30 minutes, 5 times a week, and improving heart health.

  • Stay Smoke-Free: Smoking significantly increases the risk of various heart diseases and one of the best ways to boost heart health is to avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.

  • Control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels:  Both these factors increase the risk of a heart attack and other cardiovascular conditions. 

  • Maintain a healthy weight: It is recommended to maintain weight in a healthy range

  • Avoid stress: Prolonged stress is one of the main causes of hypertension, heart attack, and other such conditions 

  • Reduce Consumptions of alcohol: If you drink, do so in moderation.

If you have any heart condition, then you should visit a cardiologist in Bangalore near you to know about the treatment and diagnosis.

Myths related to Heart Attack

  • Too young to worry about heart disease: This is a common myth as many young people may also develop heart conditions as plaque start accumulating in the arteries as early as childhood. Young people who have obesity or type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk. 

  • A Heart attack is always accompanied by chest pain: One must remember that a heart attack may occur without any chest pain or other symptoms. 

  • Heart diseases that run in family are not manageable: While it is true that people with a family history of heart disease are at a higher risk. There are various steps one can take to minimize the risk of the same like eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, avoiding smoking, etc.

  • Leg pain is mostly due to age and is not related to the heart: leg pain in older people is often due to peripheral artery disease (PAD)

  • A high pulse rate means a person is having a heart attack: In most cases, fluctuation in heartbeat is completely normal and is nothing to worry about. 

  • Only Men suffer from a heart attack: This is another common misconception that men are more likely to suffer from a heart attack, it can happen to women too.

Department of Cardiology

Manipal Hospitals

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