Why Heart Health is Important to Brain Health
Discover the link between heart and brain health and why taking care of both is essential for your overall health and well-being.
Nearly all of your organs have an interdependent relationship with each other, but none of these relationships is more important than the rapport your brain has with your heart. In fact, brain health relies more on the heart than it relies on any other organ or system.
Your High Maintenance Brain
While you are going about your daily household chores, chatting with family and friends, or engaging in a favorite hobby, your brain is counting on your heart to continuously send fresh supplies of blood through its four main lobes. The carotid artery and the vertebral artery are the two main suppliers of blood to the brain. Unless these two arteries (as well as hundreds of capillaries and blood vessels) keep receiving enough blood pumped by the heart, the brain won't have enough energy to maintain normal functioning.
The amount of energy demanded by the brain to perform cognitive, memory, and learning tasks is incredible. In addition to gobbling large amounts of glucose from arterial blood for energy, the brain consumes 20 percent of the oxygen supply in the body at any given moment. The only way the brain can get this substantial percentage of oxygen is for the heart to constantly pump blood into the vertebral and carotid arteries.
Your Brain and Breathing
The brain generates energy for cognitive tasks by combining glucose with an aerobic metabolic process that devours oxygen molecules provided by fresh blood. Maintaining sufficient oxygen levels in the brain is vital to the normal functioning of glial cells. In addition to chemically supporting brain cells called neurons, glial cells also contribute to supporting the central nervous system, So, unless your heart is working like a finely tuned engine, your brain and nervous system will be unable to enjoy the indispensable benefits of a healthy heart.
Healthy Heart, Healthy Brain, Healthy YOU!
The best way to nurture your heart and brain is to get physical every day, eat plenty of lean meat, fresh fruit, and vegetables, drink water instead of sugary drinks, avoid putting on weight, and don't smoke. Getting a physical exam once a year is also a great approach to staying proactive about your general health. During an exam, your doctor will listen to the rhythm of your heartbeat and how many times a minute your heart beats. Physicians can detect even the slightest anomalies in your heart rhythm and begin proactive treatment to ensure your heart is as healthy as possible at all times.
Keep your heart healthy and your brain will thank you for the rest of your life!