Do you know Where is your heart located? There are many people who get confused with this question. Some people think that the heart is located on the right. But, the majority of people think that the heart is located on the left side of the body. But, do you know where is your heart located exactly? Come, let us explore it together.
The heart is a very interesting organ. Our heart pumps about 2000 gallons of blood every day. Wow, that is an enormous amount of blood. Our heart really is an amazing muscular pump. Any pump I the whole universe doesn’t function so efficiently like the heart.
Our heart weighs about 8 to 10 ounces. The weight of a man’s heart is slightly more than the weight of a woman’s heart. We all know that our heart beats 72 times a minute. But the truth is that the man’s heart beats70 times a minute and the heart of a woman beats about 78 times per minute.
Our heart beats about 1 lakh times a day, but still it doesn’t fatigue at all. It works relentlessly throughout our life.
Where is your heart located exactly?
While many of us think that the heart is located on the left side of the body, it is not the truth. Our heart is located just behind our breastbone or sternum and between both the lungs. Our heart is just tilted a little to the left side.
It is the reason many of us think that our heart is on the left side. We have four chambers of our heart, the right atrium, right ventricle, left atrium and the left ventricle.
The ventricles are more muscular and strong in comparison to the atria. The left atrium is more strong and has thick muscles as it needs to pump blood to the entire body. The high blood pressure of the systemic circulation is another reason for the left ventricles to have more muscle mass.
As the left ventricles are thicker and have more muscle mass, they tilt towards left due to their weight. This gives us an appearance that the heart is located on the left, although the heart is in the middle of the chest between the lungs.
Also, the pressure in the left ventricle is higher than the right side of the heart and the left ventricle contracts very forcefully amongst all the chambers of the heart. This makes us feel that our heart is beating on the left.
The upper border of the heart starts at the 2nd rib. The ribs are attached to the sternum or breastbone on the front and the vertebral column or the spine on the back. The ribs along with sternum and vertebral column form a rib cage.
The lungs are located in the ribcage on either side. The heart is located in between the right and left lungs in the ribcage. The ribcage protects the heart and the lungs.
Dextrocardia is derived from the latin word dexter. It means right. In dextrocardia, the heart is located on the right side, instead of its normal central location and being tilted to the left. Some people are born with right sided hearts or dextrocardia. It is a congenital disorder which occurs in 1 in 10,000 people.
There are two types of Dextrocardia, they are the Dextrocardia of embryonic arrest and Dextrocardia situs inversus totalis. In Dextrocardia of embryonic arrest, there is isolated Dextrocardia. In this condition, only the heart is located on the right and all other organs in the body are normally situated.
In Dextrocardia situs inversus totalis, all the organs in the body are located on the opposite side along with the right sided heart. For example, the liver is located on the left, the spleen is located on the right, etc.The people suffering from this condition suffer from many ailments of the intestines, heart, esophagus, etc.
The function of heart:
We have seen where is your heart located in the chest. Do you know what is the function of heart? The function of the heart is to receive impure blood from all the parts of the body and to supply pure or oxygenated blood to all the parts or organs of the body.
Right atrium of the heart receives deoxygenated blood from all the body parts through superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava. Then right atrium sends blood to right ventricle which pumps the blood to the lungs. In lungs, the gaseous exchange takes place. Lungs send out the carbon dioxide and oxygenate the blood.
Then the oxygenated blood from the lungs is carried by the pulmonary veins to the left atrium. Left atrium pumps the pure blood to left ventricle. The left ventricle supplies this oxygenated blood to all the organs of the body through the aorta and other arteries.
When is Chest pain caused by heart diseases?
Chest pain is a terrifying condition. There are many important organs located in our chest like the heart and the lungs. So, when we get chest pain, we are always worried and immediately think if it’s heart attack or some heart problem.
But, the truth is that chest pain is not always caused by heart ailments. Chest pain can be caused by lung diseases, gastric problems as well. So, we need to know how chest pain due to heart exactly feels like and what all heart diseases can cause chest pain.
Heart diseases causing chest pain:
The most common heart diseases causing chest pains are angina and heart attack. In bothe the conditions, there is impaired blood supply to the heart muscle due to occluded blood vessels.
There are three main types of Angina. They are the Stable angina, unstable angina, and the Prinzmetal angina. In stable angina, chest pain is caused by exertion or working physically. The pain resolves with rest or by taking Nitroglycerin.
If you don’t use medications for stable angina or if it’s undiagnosed, it can progress to Unstable Angina. In Unstable angina, chest pain might even be produced at rest. Unstable angina can progress to the heart attack if left untreated.
Prinzmetal angina is seen in smokers. All the types of Angina are produced due to diminished blood supply to the heart muscles or the cardiac muscle due to occluded coronary arteries. The chest pain of Angina is similar to heart attack, but it lasts only for few minutes.
Myocardial infarction is the medical term used to describe heart attack. Myocardial infarction occurs when the blood supply to the heart muscle is cut off completely due to blockage of the coronary arteries.
The chest pain of heart attack lasts for a long time, that is for several hours. The chest pain caused by heart attack is diffusely located over the chest. The patient cannot exactly point out the region of the pain.
The patient feels that there is tightness or squeezing or burning sensation in the chest region. The chest pain caused by the heart attack can radiate to the left jaw, neck, left shoulder and left arm. It is accompanied by many other symptoms like shortness of breath, sweating, anxiety, etc.
This is the inflammation or swelling of the pericardial layer covering the heart. It can be caused due to viral infections, autoimmune disorders, etc. But, the pain of Pericarditis is different from the pain caused by heart attack and Angina.
In pericarditis, the chest pain is increased with breathing or inspiration. The chest pain of pericarditis also changes with the change of posture. The chest pain decreases when lying down and increases with sitting or bending forwards.
Other conditions causing chest pain:
There are many diseases of the lungs, chest wall, and gastric disorders which cause Chest pain. We need to know about them to differentiate the chest pain caused by heart diseases and the chest pain caused by other disorders.
This is a condition in which a clot obstructs the blood flow from the right ventricle to the lungs. The chest pain in pulmonary embolism occurs only when breathing or increases with inspiration. This type of chest pain is called pleuritic chest pain.
Apart from pleuritic chest pain, pulmonary embolism also has many other symptoms like hypotension or low blood pressure, tachycardia or palpitations, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, cough, etc.
This is a condition in which fluid accumulates in the pleural space or the pleural cavity. Pleural space is the space between the visceral pleura and the parietal pleura, the layers covering the lungs. Chest pain in pleural effusion is also pleuritic chest pain.
This is the accumulation of air in the pleural cavity. It also produces symptoms like shortness of breath in addition to the pleuritic chest pain.
Other lung diseases causing chest pain:
- Atelectasis or lung collapse
- Pulmonary Hypertension
Tietz disease is the other name of a condition called costochondritis. It is the inflammation of the junction or the joint between the cartilage and the ribs. It also produces chest pain. But, you can differentiate it from the chest pain caused by heart attack due to the presence of localized tenderness on the costochondral joints.
Sometimes, our ribs can get fractured due to trauma, accidents, etc. Rib fractures also produce chest pain. But, they also have visible damage, swelling and redness of the region above the fractured ribs.
GERD is the abbreviation of the disease Gastroesophageal reflux disease. In people suffering from this disease, there is reflux of acidic food contents from the stomach to the esophagus. This leads to chest pain behind the sternum or breastbone. The pain is very similar to that of a heart attack.
So, we need to ascertain the person doesn’t have a history of GERD and take relevant history before diagnosing a heart attack. GERD patients also have many other symptoms like getting sour fluid into the mouth, nocturnal cough, and halitosis or bad breath.
Sometimes any problems with your esophagus can also lead to chest pain that mimics a heart attack. But, they also have difficulty swallowing and they lack the other symptoms of a heart attack like dyspnea, sweating, etc.
Peptic ulcers include gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers. In people suffering from this condition also there is heartburn or pain behind the breastbone. Their pain is relieved with antacids nad proton pump inhibitors.
The difference between cardiac and non-cardiac chest pain:
There are many different ways to distinguish the cardiac chest pain from the other non-cardiac causes of chest pain. Let us look at them.
The nature of the pain:
Cardiac chest pain feels very dull and the patients feel like someone is squeezing his chest or has tightness in the chest. But the non-cardiac chest pain is very sharp and localized. It is very severe in comparison to the cardiac chest pain.
Change with inspiration:
The chest pain caused by heart problems appears constantly or continuously. It doesn’t change with inspiration. The non-cardiac chest pain is more severe during inspiration. It is called pleuritic chest pain.
Radiation of pain:
The chest pain caused by heart disorders like the heart attack can radiate to the left jaw, left shoulder and arm. But, non-cardiac chest pain doesn’t radiate anywhere. It is localized over the chest.
Chest pain caused by heart attack has other accompanying symptoms like shortness of breath, anxiety, sweating and feeling cold. Non-cardiac causes of chest pain have symptoms that are specific for that particular disease which is causing the chest pain.
The trigger of pain:
The cardiac causes of chest pain are produced generally after exertion. Non-cardiac chest pain is unrelated to exertion.
Alleviation of symptoms:
The symptoms of angina alleviate with rest. The chest pain caused by heart attack remains for several hours until it is treated. The chest pain caused by lung diseases lasts only for a few seconds and that too while taking a breath.
By now, you must have learned where is your heart located exactly in the chest. We also have discussed the various heart diseases causing chest pain and how to distinguish cardiac chest pain and non-cardiac chest pain. Hope, you have enjoyed learning about the heart location and also about chest pain.