Top 5 Interesting Facts About the Heart

February is American Heart Month. Here are some interesting facts about the heart that you may not know.

by Jennifer Bunn, RN

The heart is an amazing organ. About the size of a small fist, it is able to pump approximately 5 quarts of blood a minute. This adds up to about 2,000 gallons of blood per day. Your blood vessels (arteries, veins, and capillaries) are over 60,000 miles long, enough to go around the world twice if they were stretched end-to-end. Your heart beats about 100,000 times a day and weighs between 8 ounces for women and 10 ounces for men.

Here are some other interesting facts:

 

Sex really is good for your heart- It turns out that men are not feeding us a line on this one! A study of middle-aged men found that men who had sex three times a week were about 50% less likely to die from coronary heart disease. Enthusiastic sex has been estimated to burn approximately 200 calories, which is the equivalent of a 15 minute jog. Women experience heart attack symptoms differently- While men often experience the classic symptoms of severe, crushing chest pain when having a heart attack, women are more likely to experience less specific symptoms, such as nausea, back and abdominal pain, and aching pain in the chest. For this reason, women’s diagnosis of heart attack is often delayed. A delay in diagnosis can lead to more muscle damage to the heart. “He has a big heart”- This expression is usually used to refer to someone who is kind. This expression is literally true for some. An enlarged heart may be a sign of heart disease, such as dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart’s chambers become enlarged. The larger, weaker heart is less and less capable of pumping blood efficiently. Over time, an untreated enlarged heart can lead to heart failure. Laughter truly is the best medicine- Studies have shown that sustained laughter (the kind that causes tears to squirt from your eyes and your belly to hurt) causes the lining of blood vessels to relax, increasing blood flow for as long as 45 minutes. You really can succumb to a broken heart- Sorrow and grief can increase your risk of having a broken heart. In addition, sudden shocks, such as the death of a loved one, can trigger the release of large amounts of dangerous stress hormones, which can cause physical symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pain. The good news is that this type of heart pain will ease with time and rest. Related Links:

 

Ÿ Video: What Is Heart Disease? from HealthGuru

Ÿ The Human Heart from the Franklin Institute

Ÿ How Your Heart Works from HowStuffWorks.com