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(6) Heart Attack and Cardiac Disorders


How blood pumps through the heart


What is the pumping action of a normal heart?

A normal heart with a rate of 70 beats per minute pumps a little more than 2.5 fluid ounces of blood per stroke; that adds up to 6 quarts of blood output per minute.

As a result, the heart pumps about 5,500 quarts of blood daily-weighing 6 tons! However, your heart can pump as much as 35 quarts of blood per minute when necessary, such as during vigorous physical exercise (e.g., running, competitive sports, and the like).

Your heart rate increases markedly during various physical activities. In a healthy individual with a resting heart rate of 60 to 70 beats per minute, the maximum heart rate may reach 180 to 200 beats per minute during intense physical exercise. Each heartbeat is transmitted all the way to the periphery of the blood circulation, where it is felt as a “pulse” on the wrist, neck, or ankle artery.

The system of your heart and its connected blood vessels (the cardiovascular system) is well coordinated so that it regulates the blood supply to any particular portion of your body according to what is needed there. For instance, your stomach and the rest of your digestive system require an additional blood supply during and after eating meals. When digestion of food is completed, the extra blood flow to your digestive system shuts off, and extra blood supply becomes available for other parts of your body instead. During physical activity, the cardiovascular system supplies larger amounts of extra blood to your arms and legs. During any physical exertion, the amount of oxygen used by the tissues increases. For a larger oxygen supply, your heart’s blood output has to be increased. This occurs primarily through a faster heart rate and more rapid breathing.

Your heart can pump as much as 35 quarts of blood per minute when necessary.



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