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Know Your Heart

Know Your Heart

Your heart is a pump. As an integral part of the circulatory system, its function is to pump blood around the body providing it with the oxygen and nutrients it needs while also carrying away waste.

The right side of your heart receives blood from the body and pumps it to the lungs. The left side of the heart receives blood from the body and pumps it to the lungs. The left side of the heart receives blood from the lungs and pumps it out to the body.

Heart Facts

  • Your system of blood vessels (arteries, veins and capillaries) is over 60,000 miles long----enough to go around the world more than twice!
  • Blood takes about 20 seconds to circulate throughout your entire vascular system.
  • The heart pumps about 5 quarts of blood each minute—approximately 2,000 gallons (9000 units) throughout the body every day.
  • The heart beats about 1, 00,000 times each day, which over 70 years, that is more than 2.5 billion times.

The Structure of the Heart

The heart is made up of four different chambers. There is a chamber on the top and on the bottom of each side of the heart. The chambers on top are called the atria (left & right). The two chambers on the bottom are called the ventricles (left and right).


  • Right atrium and the right ventricle- collect non-oxygenated (impure) blood from the whole body.
  • Left atrium and the left ventricle—supply the oxygenated blood to the whole body.
  • Septum- separates the left and right sides of the heart.

The direction that the blood is pumped is controlled by four special valves inside the heart.


The valves that let blood flow from the atria to the ventricles are:

  • The right atrium and the right ventricle (Tricuspid Valve)
  • The left atrium and the left ventricle (Mitral Valve)

The valve in charge of the flow as the blood leaves the heart are:

  • The right ventricle and the pulmonary arteries (Pulmonary Valve)
  • The left ventricle and the aorta ( Aortic Valve)

The Coronary Arteries

The heart gets its energy from a network of blood vessels that surround the heart muscle and supply it with oxygen-rich blood. These are called coronary arteries.