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How your heart works

The human heart works like a pump sending blood around your body that keeps you alive.

A normal heart is a masterpiece of muscles, electrical signals, valves and circulation working together in a coordinated way to pump blood through the heart, lungs and body. It requires its own blood supply, which it receives from the coronary arteries, and a regular heart beat from its own electrical conduction system.

how your heart works
How your heart works: A diagram of the human heart (Credit: Blausen)

A problem with the coronary arteries or the electrical regulation of the heart can result in symptoms such as chest pain, breathlessness and palpitations.

Coronary artery disease is caused by atheroma, an accumulation in the arteries of fatty deposits made up primarily of lipids and calcium.

With exercise or emotional stress, more blood is needed through the coronary arteries to supply the heart muscle with the blood and oxygen it requires to beat faster. Initially the heart may compensate but as the furring up process continues, a point is reached when the heart cannot get enough blood through the coronary arteries to cope with stress or increased activity such as walking uphill or climbing stairs.  

This reduction in blood supply can cause chest pain, pressure, heaviness or tightness (angina). GTN spray usually relieves angina pain.  Plaque rupture may occur in the lining of a coronary artery and a blood clot (thrombus) may form resulting in a heart attack, known medically as a myocardial infarction.

The pain at the time of a heart attack is usually intense and is not relieved adequately by rest or GTN. Heart attacks may be “silent” in some patients particularly in the elderly and diabetics and the patient may only be aware of shortness of breath.  Heart attacks are a medical emergency and the patient should be admitted to hospital immediately to unblock the artery by angioplasty and for treatment of the consequences of the heart attack.

Echo showing clot in the right heart

How your heart works - Problems & Issues

Of course, when your heart no longer works well, problems and issues can occur. Fortunately, there are many ways we can investigate and test to see how your heart works as well as numerous effective treatments that can be implemented so your heart works better

Heart Symptoms

Heart problems can present as a number of symptoms many of which have more than one underlying cause. Typical symptoms include chest pain, breathlessness, dizziness, blackouts and palpitations.

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Heart Investigations

There are many methods and diagnostic tests available to ascertain whether or not you have a problem. Here are some of those Dr Levy is versed in.

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Heart Conditions

The phrase "heart disease" covers a very wide range of conditions. Dr Levy is trained in a wide range of cardiology and general medical problems.

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Heart Treatments

Many heart problems can be treated in a number of ways; Dr Levy can discuss with you the most suitable treatment once your condition is established.

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Heart Risk Factors

Many risks to your heart can be minimised by simple lifestyle changes; others may be hereditary. There are many resources on the web for both.

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How can we help you?

You can use the form below to get in touch or visit the contact page.

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Levy Heart Health

Contact Levy

HCA The Wilmslow Hospital
52 Alderley Road
Wilmslow SK9 1NY
0161  883 0366
info@levyhearthealth.com
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