Heart Health: Understanding the Heart and How to Keep it Healthy

It is estimated that every one in four deaths in the United States is caused by some form of heart disease. Understanding the heart is key to keeping your heart healthy. Use our free guide to heart health below for resources and tools to learn more about different kinds of heart rhythm disorders, heart muscle disorders, coronary heart disease, and more to better maintain your heart health.

Free Insurance Comparison

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

Full Bio →

Written by

Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Nov 14, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single insurance company.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different insurance companies please enter your ZIP code above to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by insurance experts.

The heart is one of the most essential parts of your body. Without it you wouldn’t be alive! Keeping your heart healthy is important, and understanding how it heart works is a great first step in staying healthy. The heart is more than just a muscle. It is a crucial part of your body’s functioning.

Compare The Best Insurance Quotes In The Country

Compare quotes from the top insurance companies and save!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Understanding the Heart

The heart is located in the chest cavity near your lungs, protected by your ribs. It is a powerful muscle made up of several distinct parts. The outside of the heart is covered with muscle and a membrane called the pericardium that also helps to protect it. Your heart contains four chambers. The upper chambers are the atria and the lower are the ventricles. These are separated by a piece of muscle called the septum, and these chambers pump the blood and oxygen that travels through your body to keep it working.

The heart is connected to the circulatory system through arteries, veins, and the aorta – a large series of valves that allows blood to pass from your heart into your body. There are also valves regulating blood flow within the heart to keep it functioning properly.

Resources:

Common Heart Diseases and Conditions

It is important to keep your heart healthy and to be knowledgeable about common heart diseases and conditions. Prevention and early detection can be key in living with or recovering from heart disease. Heart diseases are often known as cardiovascular diseases when they impact the structure of the heart or its function.

Resources:

Compare The Best Insurance Quotes In The Country

Compare quotes from the top insurance companies and save!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary Artery Disease is a leading heart disease. It is caused when plaque forms inside the artery walls and causes blood flow to be obstructed. This can be due to diet, smoking, high cholesterol, or even genetic factors. This type of heart disease can go undetected for years, but can also cause heart attacks or dangerous blood clots. Although there are many symptoms, chest pain and shortness of breath can occur and should definitely be checked out by a doctor.

Resources:

Heart Muscle Disorders

Heart muscle disorders, or cardiomyopathy, are disorders that impact the muscles of the heart. Some forms and instances of cardiomyopathy are genetic, heart and muscle conditions passed down and inherited through a family, but some are due to health and lifestyle. Coronary artery disease can cause cardiomyopathy, as can alcoholism or even an infection. Also, people who have lost a large amount of weight, including muscle, can be prone to cardiomyopathy.

Resources:

Heart Rhythm Disorders

Your heart beats to a rhythm. Sometimes it slows and sometimes it speeds up, but it should keep a relatively constant rhythm to facilitate proper blood flow. However, sometimes the heart develops an irregular rhythm, or an arrhythmia. This can occur for a variety of reasons. Heart disease, chemical imbalances, medications, drug use, alcoholism, or genetic causes can all result in arrhythmias. Arrhythmia is not uncommon, and many who suffer from long-term or genetic arrhythmia eventually get pacemakers to keep the heart beating at a consistent rhythm.

Resources:

Compare The Best Insurance Quotes In The Country

Compare quotes from the top insurance companies and save!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Statistics

Heart disease impacts a staggering number of people. It is estimated that 1 in 4 deaths in the United States is caused by some form of heart disease, with coronary heart disease being the most prevalent. Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, and many women (and men) do not know the symptoms of heart disease. Knowing if you are genetically predisposed to heart disease, how to avoid heart disease, and how to recognize the symptoms of heart problems is crucial for protecting your heart!

Resources:

Health Tips for a Healthy Heart

There are many steps, both large and small, you can take for heart health. By living a healthy lifestyle, even if you are genetically likely to develop heart disease, you can help prevent and lessen the severity of any heart problems!

  • Stay active. Walking or being active even for short periods of time can help you stay healthy and keep your heart functioning properly.
  • Eat fruits, vegetables, and plenty of fiber. While you should always see a doctor before making any major dietary changes, eating more fruits and vegetables as well as making sure you have fiber can help keep your heart and body healthy!
  • Avoid infections. Wash your hands regularly and stay away from people who are sick and contagious. An infection could impact your heart.
  • Breathe deeply. Meditating can be good for you, but simply taking a moment to take a few deep breaths helps get more oxygen into your body, reducing the workload on your heart.
  • Avoid, or at least manage, stress. Stress impacts your body in numerous ways, including negatively impacting your heart. Avoiding stress may be impossible, but finding coping mechanisms can help!
  • Don’t smoke or drink heavily. Smoking kills, and, while a glass or two of wine may actually help heart health, drinking to excess can cause damage to your body.

Resources:

Heart Health Calculators and Tools

While all medical questions should ultimately be directed to your doctor, there are some ways to check for yourself that your heart is healthy, and many ways to put into practice heart-healthy lifestyle habits. There are ways to estimate risk factors such as ethnicity and race, age, sex, and lifestyle. In addition, there are trackers for steps, for heart rate, and for weight, many of which you can access easily on your phone!

Resources:

Compare The Best Insurance Quotes In The Country

Compare quotes from the top insurance companies and save!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Additional Resources

Medical issues can be scary, and the heart is such an essential piece of the body that thinking about keeping it healthy can produce anxiety. However, talking with your doctor about heart disease and heart health is crucial. These resources also have information on your heart, your heart’s health, and how you can help keep your heart healthy!

Free Insurance Comparison

Compare quotes from the top insurance companies and save!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption