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renderings of a heart and lungs

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Heart + Lungs: Your Most Important Relationship

It’s a seemingly obvious but sadly little-known fact that your heart health directly affects your breathing. With February being American Heart Month, we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to talk about this relationship!

heart and lung diagram

For starters, the heart and lungs are teammates on what’s called pulmonary and systemic circulation. In the pulmonary circulation process, the right side of your heart pics up the oxygen-poor blood from your body and moves it to your lungs to be cleaned and re-oxygenized. Once that blood is re-oxygenized, the left side of the heart moves moves the blood through the body, so that every part of your receives the oxygen it needs—this left-side-function is called systemic circulation.

Fun fact: it takes only about 16 minutes for blood to travel from the heart to the toes and back!

Now, we run into problems when this (impressive, but fallible) heart muscle stops working at top capacity. Oftentimes, serious heart problems—like congestive heart failure, tachycardia, pulmonary edema, or cardiomyopathy—are accompanied by a shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Whenever it becomes hard to breathe when you’re not exerting yourself physically, that’s a tell tale sign that you’ve got something more serious happening with your heart.

How to Stay Heart Healthy

We’ve talked about this before, but doing regular cardio exercise is great for not only your heart (and your body!) but also for your lungs! And while exercise is certainly critical, it can’t reverse the negative effects of a poor diet on your heart.

We don’t mean that you should consider depriving yourself of delicious foods! We only mean that you should start incorporating more healthy decisions into your daily routine. These heart-healthy diets involve truly delicious foods. We challenge you to give at least one of them a try!

If you’ve been experiencing any of the lung issues we described, give us a call immediately so that we can assess your situation.