For the body to function properly, the heart needs to pump blood at a sufficient rate to maintain an adequate and continuous supply of oxygen and other nutrients to the brain and other vital organs. Cardiac output is the term that describes the amount of blood your heart pumps each minute. Doctors think about cardiac output in terms of the following equation:
Can a few drinks really be good for your heart? Yes, but only a few, and not for everyone.
Moderate drinking -- no more than 1 drink a day for women and 2 for men -- appears to protect some people against heart disease.
One drink is 12 ounces of beer or wine cooler, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
Alcohol may help your heart in these ways:
It raises HDL or "good" cholesterol.
It lowers blood pressure.
It stops blood from clotting. This can be good or bad. It may...
Your stroke volume is the amount of blood your heart pumps each time it beats, and your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute.
What is a normal cardiac output?
A healthy heart with a normal cardiac output pumps about 5 to 6 liters of blood every minute when a person is resting.
When does the body need a higher cardiac output?
During exercise, your body may need three or four times your normal cardiac output, because your muscles need more oxygen when you exert yourself. During exercise, your heart typically beats faster so that more blood gets out to your body. Your heart can also increase its stroke volume by pumping more forcefully or increasing the amount of blood that fills the left ventricle before it pumps. Generally speaking, your heart beats both faster and stronger to increase cardiac output during exercise.
Why is maintaining cardiac output so important?
Sufficient cardiac output helps keep blood pressure at the levels needed to supply oxygen-rich blood to your brain and other vital organs.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
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