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Heart Disease: Terms to Know

Diuretic. A medication that helps the body get rid of extra fluid and salt by producing more urine. Sometimes called “water pills,” diuretics reduce fluid buildup in the lungs and swelling in the feet and ankles.  

Atrium. An upper chamber of the heart. The heart has two atria. Both collect blood as it enters the heart. The right atrium receives blood from the body. The left atrium receives blood full of oxygen from the lungs.  

Ventricle. A lower chamber of the heart. The heart has two ventricles. The right ventricle pumps blood to the lungs. The left ventricle pumps blood to the rest of the body.  

Cardiomyopathy. A condition in which the heart muscle is damaged and can’t pump blood efficiently. This occurs when the heart has become enlarged or the walls of the heart have thickened or become rigid.