The Facts About Heart Disease
(BlackDoctor.org) With heart disease accounting for, or being a major factor in almost half of all deaths in America, it’s more than appropriate that this column be devoted to a basic and frank talk about the heart, how it works; and what happens during the course of a lifetime to cause it to becomes diseased to the point of jeopardizing, or even ending our lives.
The heart is a muscle. It pumps blood to the head and body. It is about the size of your fist and sits just left of the middle of your chest. Arteries carry blood much the same way a plumbing system carries water throughout a house. Over time, debris traveling through the pipes may collect in a bend. Debris that collects and restricts water flow is known as a clog or blockage. Arteries and veins wind throughout the body carrying blood. Arteries carry blood away from the heart. Veins carry blood back to the heart. The heart has its own arteries to provide blood to the heart muscle:
- The aorta supplies blood to the arteries of the heart as well as to the rest of the body.
- The circumflex artery supplies blood to the lateral or side of the heart.
- The right coronary artery provides blood to the back or underside of the heart.
- The left anterior descending supplies blood to the front of the heart.
To give you some idea of their size, the coronary arteries are only about the size of a strand of spaghetti. At birth, the inside of the arteries, including the coronary arteries, is slippery – similar to a nonstick frying pan. The blood cells flows smoothly through the arteries like little small cars.