The beating heart provides the pressure to move the blood along in the blood vessels. When the space within the smaller arteries is narrowed, as may happen in older people, the heard must push harder to make the blood move. This results in high blood pressure. Drugs are used that cause the arteries to relax and thus lower the blood pressure. Other drugs bring about a lowering of the pressure by their effect on the nerves that control the small arteries.
The rate of the heartbeat is controlled by electrical impulses from the nervous system. These impulses set the pace for the heartbeat. Sometimes the impulses may cause an irregular beat or one that is too fast or too slow. Usually this is a temporary condition. If the problem is a serious one, an artificial pacemaker is set into the heart painlessly. The pacemaker is powered by a tiny battery that lasts for years. The life-saving pacemaker supplies electrical impulses to the heart, causing it to beat regularly and at a satisfactory rate.
Medical and surgical skill have saved or prolonged millions of lives. But some hearts are so badly damaged that they cannot be repaired. The first heart transplant was performed in December 1967, and we’ve come a long way since then. Take care of yourself. Your family loves you.