Where Is the Heart Located: Other Heart Questions Answered

Maybe your heart seems to flutter or skip a beat when to talk to someone you like or love, but unlike the poets of the world would have one believe – the heart is not the center of your emotions. That's a role the brain plays. Your heart is still an important part of your anatomy, and there are some confusing things about it, like, where is the heart located?

Where Is the Heart Located?

The answer to this question seems to open up a good place to start off, before delving into some other heart-anatomy facts. The location of your heart within your body is one of those things people argue over all the time – because you've been lead to believe a certain thing all your life.

You place your hand over your heart when you say the pledge of allegiance – right hand over your left breast. The thing is, your heart isn't toward the left, it's right in between your lungs – in the middle of your chest. It does sit a little to the left though, and that's where the heartbeat is the strongest.

The heart is covered by the pericardium, which is a double-layered membrane. Part of the membrane connects to the spinal column, as well as connecting the heart to other organs (more stability?).

Heart tangled on a rope

How Much Does the Heart Weigh?

Your heart, surprisingly enough, is no bigger than the size of a fist. Women's hearts tend to be a little smaller than men's – with 225 to 300 grams for the ladies and 250 to 325 for guys. When your heart is enlarged from heart failure, it can weigh more.

What is the Function of the Heart?

You know you need your heart in order to be alive – but what exactly is your heart doing for your body? The most important thing it is doing is pumping blood through your body while ensuring that blood stays rich in oxygen for its trek through your system.

Off all of the muscles in your body, your heart is one of the strongest of them. The beat of your heart needs to be strong in order to move blood through it, taking in oxygen-depleted blood and pushing it through the longs for a refill and then pumping it back through to go throughout the rest of your body.

What Are the Valves of the Heart?

valve of heart

There are four valves in total, making one for each chamber of the heart. The heart has a right and left chamber, with both upper and lower quadrants. These chambers are the atria (which are the upper chambers of the heart) and the ventricles (which are the lower chambers of the heart).

In the atria, you will find both the tricuspid valve and the mitral valve. In the ventricles, you can find the pulmonic valve and the aortic valve. These valves control the flow of blood in and out of the heart.

Why Do We Have a Heartbeat?

Sometimes it feels like all you can feel when you try to relax is your heartbeat – what's up with that? How much your heart beats depends on how much oxygen your body needs at any given time. This pumping action, which is caused by electrical impulses, is how the heart is pushing blood around within it.

Your heart actually beats faster when you're a baby, and progressively slows down as you get older. A baby’s average heartbeat is around 130 beats per minute, while an adult has an average heartbeat of around 50 to 100 beats per minute (depending on what you're doing. A normal, healthy heart can beat around 100,000 times each day. During that time, it's pumping around 2,000 gallons of blood through your body.

Your heart rate will increase or decrease numerous times throughout the day depending on heart conditions and what you're doing. When you exercise, your heart rate will be faster than what it is when you're relaxing or sleeping. You can check how fast your heartbeat is by counting how many times it beats (through your pulse) in one minute.

Drawing of a heart

What Are Some Common Heart Conditions?

As you age, your heart starts to work overtime. Your diet, lack of exercise, and even your bad habits can affect the health of your heart. Some people are even born with heart conditions.

Here are some heart conditions that are common for various reasons:

  • Arrhythmia – Arrhythmia is an abnormal heartbeat, which is caused by a change in the electrical impulses that make your heart pump. Many people live full lives with arrhythmia, but some forms can be life-threatening.
  • Angina – There are different types of angina, including stable and unstable. This is a narrowing of the coronary arteries which can cause chest pain or some discomfort. The pain usually happens with exertion.
  • Atrial Fibrillation – Atrial fibrillation is one of the main causes of heart arrhythmia. This is caused by electrical impulses that are abnormal, causing the irregular beats.
  • Cardiac Arrest – Cardiac arrest happens when your heart stops working. The heart can be “restarted,” often but not always.
  • Sudden Cardiac Death – When someone has a heart attack that causes death, they have suffered sudden cardiac death. Most of the time, during cardiac arrest, a person can be saved or revived.
  • Cardiomyopathy – Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the heart muscle. This causes the heart to be abnormally enlarged, which weakens the heart's ability to pump normally.
  • Coronary Artery Disease – if you've been living with high cholesterol, that cholesterol has been building up plaque in your arteries. This narrows the arteries and risks blockages – which can cause a stroke or heart attack.
  • Congestive Heart Failure – When suffering from congestive heart failure, the heart is too weak or stiff to be able to effectively pump blood through the body. Shortness of breath and leg swelling are common symptoms.
  • Heart Attack Having a heart attack, which is more technically referred to as a Myocardial infarction, is something that is caused when a coronary artery becomes blocked. Without oxygen, your heart stops working.
  • Myocarditis – This is when your heart muscle becomes inflamed, as opposed to stopping completely. This happens because of viral infections.
  • Endocarditis – Other parts of your heart can become inflamed as well. In the case of Endocarditis, the heart valves or the inner lining of the heart become inflamed.
  • Pericarditis – In the case of pericarditis, the lining of the heart, specifically, becomes inflamed. This usually happens due to kidney failure, autoimmune issues, or because of a viral infection.
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse – For people that have been diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation, one common concern is prolapse of the mitral valve. This can happen when the valve is forced backward from blood passing through the valve.
  • Pulmonary Embolism – A pulmonary embolism is what happens when you develop a blood clot that moves from your heart into your lungs. In the process, one or more arteries get blocked.
  • Heart Murmur – Hearts are basically just an abnormal heart sound that is heard using a stethoscope. While they're often nothing to worry about, some of them can be a sign of heart disease.
Heart diagram

Questions of the Heart 

People give the heart much more credit than they should – for many things. And then they take it for granted for the important functions that it really does.

When someone tells you to “have a heart,” what they really want you to do is be mindful of other people. When your heart goes all a-flutter, it can be chalked up to the same nervous tendencies that make you respond to fight or flight situations.

What your heart really does is keep you alive and ensures that all of the organs in your body get the oxygenated blood they need in order to keep working themselves.

Final Thoughts on “Where Is the Heart Located”

The human heart can go through a lot – not when it comes to being stomped on my people, but when it comes to you not taking care of it properly. Some people live through multiple heart attacks and strokes, and multiple open-heart surgeries to still live somewhat normal lives (they need to eat better and make better habit choices). You can avoid many of the negative heart problems simply by eating well and staying active.

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