It’s almost Superbowl weekend! While you’re thinking about watching the top football teams on Sunday, you might also want to think about another team…your heart and lungs! Did you know that the heart and lungs are closely connected? They work as a team to make sure enough oxygen is getting to all the tissues and systems in your body. Here’s how the process works:
- Blood moves from the right side of your heart into the lungs where it picks up oxygen.
- That “oxygenated” blood then moves into the left side of the heart which pumps it out to all the different parts of your body.
- The blood then moves back into your heart where the cycle starts again.
It’s important to know that your heart and lungs work together. When one isn’t working properly, it can affect the other. This is why some heart conditions have the same symptoms as lung diseases, including shortness of breath, tiredness, and low oxygen levels. In some cases, like those with conditions that cause blockages in their arteries or cause damage to their heart, their heart has to work much harder to pump all the blood out to the lungs. That can cause low oxygen levels and shortness of breath.
Not all shortness of breath is related to a lung condition. That’s why it is so important to take good care of your heart. Be sure to go for all your yearly health screenings including blood pressure checks, cholesterol testing, and a general checkup. Be sure to take your medication if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or other health conditions. While these medications may not make you feel any different, they may be helping your heart dramatically.
Be sure to watch for signs of heart and lung conditions such as shortness of breath, unusual tiredness, coughing, chest pain, and feeling faint. Some people with these symptoms may think they are just “out of shape” or exercising too hard. It is important to listen to your body and take these symptoms seriously. If you have any symptoms of a heart or lung condition—even if they are mild or go away after a few minutes—call or visit your health care provider. And if your symptoms are severe, get emergency help right away.
What questions do you have about the heart and lung connection? I’d love to hear from you!