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Love Your Heart
Guidelines for Healthier Children

How does the heart work?

The heart is a powerful muscle that pumps blood to the entire body. The blood moves from the heart into arteries, capillaries and veins, then returns to the heart. During this cycle, the blood carries oxygen and nutrients to all the cells in the body. Coronary arteries bring oxygen and nutrients to the heart itself.

The heart is divided into four chambers, called the atria and ventricles. Blood from the body is carried into the heart's right atrium by the vena cava. When the right atrium fills with blood, it contracts, sending blood to the right ventricle. When the right ventricle fills with blood, it contracts, sending blood to the lungs through the pulmonary arteries.

In the lungs, blood picks up oxygen, then returns to the heart's left atrium through the pulmonary veins. When the left atrium contracts, it sends blood to the left ventricle. From there, blood is pumped out the aorta and through the body. Four valves make sure blood flows in the correct direction through the heart.

What does this mean to me?

As you can see, the heart is a very important part of the body. It is extremely important that we lead our lives in a healthy manner to protect
our hearts.

Heart disease is not just an adult problem. Children can develop heart disease too, and the habits they develop while they are young can influence their adult lives for better or worse.

In this brochure you will find information on smoking, high blood pressure, nutrition and physical activity as they relate to the prevention of heart disease.


Children are not small adults. Because children are growing and developing, children’s healthcare needs are constantly changing. They need health care that is tailored to their unique needs, involves their parents from start to finish and is provided in places designed to be kid-sized and child-friendly. That’s why the children of Southern Appalachia need Niswonger Children’s Hospital. This hospital was designed to provide for the unique needs of children and combines compassionate, personalized care with state-of-the-art technology. Niswonger Children’s Hospital is dedicated to ensuring that every child has access to high-quality, cost-effective healthcare services.

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Please be aware the information being provided to you, or accessed by you, is for educational purposes only, and in no way
constitutes medical advice. Any questions regarding this information or its applicability to you should be directed to your physician.