“And the beat goes on…”

We rarely think about our hearts, but minute after minute, day after day, year after year… you get the picture: our hearts rarely miss a beat. Unless we are athletes who monitor our heart rate or our heart is ‘broken’ in romance, we usually don’t give it a second thought.

That we aren’t aware of our heart isn’t because we don’t appreciate it; it’s because we don’t feel it work so we rarely think about it. But we become much more focused on our heart when it doesn’t work right.

When it works right, the heart is the hub of a pumping station which is hooked up to a network of hoses (blood vessels). For the vessels to get blood to our bodies, there needs to be a master conductor in charge of coordinating effective pumping, But, where is this conductor?

Inside the heart is something called the SA node (see diagram, at the yellow arrow); meet the conductor! The SA node has the responsibility of generating an electrical current which eventually gives rise to a heartbeat which then pushes blood out from the heart, beginning the blood’s journey throughout the body.

From the chart above on the right, you can see some of the symptoms that you might see if your heart beats too slowly, fast or has an arrhythmia (fancy name for irregular beat). You should always bring these symptoms to your doctor’s attention.

They may be serious, they may not and they may not always be caused by your heart.  But they should always be evaluated by your doctor; what if you were fatigued and you thought the fatigue meant you hadn’t been getting enough sleep; when what it really meant is that your heart rhythm was the problem?

 

 

 

 

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About Annie

My 20 year nursing career ended when i was diagnosed with lupus. So, I began another career as a freelance writer and advocate for people with chronic illnesses. anowlin@mac.com

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