In the truest sense of the word, the heart is not really a machine. However, if you look at how it was designed and its effectiveness, you might agree that it’s really one of the most phenomenal machines ever created. Considering February includes Valentine’s Day (symbolic of hearts), it’s only fitting that it’s also heart health awareness month. So, FirstLantic thought it was important to share some interesting facts about this small organ that has such a huge impact on every part of our body. And hopefully, it reminds us all of why we need to take good care of it.
- The human heart weighs less than 1 pound. However, a man’s heart, on average, is 2 ounces heavier than a woman’s heart and a woman’s heart beats slightly faster.
- On an average day, the heart beats about 115,000 times and pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood. Just imagine if your average car could go that far without refueling.
- If you were to stretch out your blood vessel system, it would extend over 60,000 miles.
- The reason that heart cancer is incredibly rare has to do with the fact that heart cells divide much less frequently at a certain point. Since it’s during cell division that cancer-causing mutations can occur, without active cell division, cancer occurrence is extremely rare. The other distinguishing feature of heart cells is that, like nerve cells in the brain that fire incessantly, heart cells are metabolically active every minute of life. That constant activity means that these cell types rarely get a chance to “put themselves into a resting state and devote their resources to dividing.”
- The iconic heart shape as a symbol of love is thought to come from the silphium plant, which was used as an ancient form of birth control. Also, many contemporary writings have tied the silphium to sexuality and love.
- For any of us who have been in love, we know it’s possible to have a broken heart. However, there is a medical condition that is also called broken heart syndrome and it can have similar symptoms as a heart attack. The difference is that a heart attack is from heart disease and broken heart syndrome is caused by a rush of stress hormones from an emotional or physical stress event. Yes, you can die from a broken heart, or broken heart syndrome, although it’s extremely rare.
- The first successful open-heart surgery occurred in 1893. It was performed by Daniel Hale Williams, who was one of the few black cardiologists in the United States at the time. This month also happens to be black history month!
- Most heart attacks happen on a Monday. Christmas day is the most common day of the year for heart attacks to happen.
- The earliest known case of heart disease was identified in the remains of a 3,500-year-old Egyptian mummy. While heart disease is certainly increasing due to our lifestyle choices and environmental risk factors, the fact is that our ancestors also suffered from the disease.
- Laughing is good for your heart. It reduces stress, encourages blood flow, and gives a boost to your immune system. As children, we laugh on average between 300-400 times every day. However, as adults, we only laugh about 26 times per day. So, start watching your favorite sit-com reruns and get to it!
So, there you have it. Most of us take our hearts for granted and yet it’s more amazing than most of us realize. It affects every part of your body so you can’t afford to take it for granted. You need to take care of it by eating well, exercising, and reducing stress. Next week, we will dive into some of the lifestyle choices that you can make to keep your heart as healthy as possible. In the meantime, don’t forget to laugh!
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