Functions of the Heart
The heart muscle is only one part of the cardiovascular system. A healthy heart, healthy blood and healthy blood vessels (arteries, veins, capillaries) are all needed to carry out the functions of the cardiovascular system. The major functions of this system are to deliver oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and other metabolic products to tissues and cells of the body. Waste products and carbon dioxide are also transported by the cardiovascular system for removal from the body.
When Your Heart Is Not Healthy
When your cardiovascular system is not functioning properly, blood is not getting to where it needs to be.
Anytime blood flow to your organs and tissues is reduced or interrupted, your health suffers.
For example, if the cardiovascular system is not functioning properly, the lung cannot deliver adequate oxygen to the cells and the kidney cannot remove waste products from the blood.
Heart Disease - A Chronic Condition
Some problems affecting the heart and cardiovascular system can occur suddenly, such as heart attack and stroke. However, in these and other heart conditions, damage to your heart and blood vessels often occurs over long periods of time, making cardiovascular disease a 'chronic disease.' Because heart disease can develop over time, daily lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise are the key to lifelong heart health.
To help your heart, understand the various types of heart disease and be aware of conditions that can lead to heart disease.