As a cardiac nurse for more than 20 years, I’ve cared for thousands of patients with heart disease. In 2014, I was faced with a new challenge when my own husband had a heart attack.
When most people think of the human heart, they envision a big beating muscle with multiple valves and arteries to help pump blood. What many don’t see is the complex electrical system of the heart that initiates the heartbeat and controls the timing of valve opening and muscle contraction in different parts of the heart. When this system of natural electrical wiring is working properly, the heart pumps blood with the right timing and sequence. When it wears out, it can develop arrhythmias—irregular rhythms that can cause serious health issues.
Last week, the American Heart Association released new guidelines on healthy levels for blood pressure. In the video below, Brendan Merchant, MD, cardiologist at South Shore Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Harbor Medical Associates, explains the new guidelines and what it means for you.