How does the heart work?

The heart has two upper chambers are called the atria and two lower chambers called the ventricles. The atria receive blood returning to the heart and then push it downward to the ventricles which give departing blood a push outward towards its destination.

The heart has two pumps – the right side receives deoxygenated blood from the body and pumps blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen; the much stronger left ventricle takes oxygenated blood coming back from the lungs and circulates it to the rest of the body. Blood flows through the body in an endless figure eight loop.

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood in the arteries as the heart pumps it around the body. Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers-the larger number indicates the pressure in the arteries as the heart squeezes out blood during each beat and the lower number indicates the pressure as the heart relaxes before the next beat.

High blood pressure can cause serious problems and may not have warning signs. The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have it checked regularly.