Things You Didn’t Know About The Human Heart

By Carole 1 year ago

1. Your Heart Weighs Less Than a Can of Soda

Image source / redditYou may be under the illusion that your heart weighs quite a bit, what with all the work it has to do to keep your body and brain alive!  Well, it may surprise you to known that it weighs slightly less than a can of soda, at 10 ounces.  Also, each valve is about the size of a half dollar.

2. You Can Test Your Own Heart Health With A Tape Measure

Image source / BBC
For a quick check to assess your heart risk, wrap a tape measure around your waist and if it measures half your height or more, then you are prone to problems. Visceral fat surrounding your organs, secretes compounds and hormones that boost the chances of you experiencing heart issues.

3. Fixing Your Heart’s Flaws May Soon Be Painless

Image source / stanford
Doctors continue to develop minimally invasive treatments to tackle heart disease, heart attacks and other related conditions.  Scientists state the concept of cracking open someone's heart to fix it will, in time, be looked upon as something barbaric.

4. Alcohol Makes Your Heart Happy

Image source /  reddit
Alcohol, particularly red wine, contains antioxidants and a compound called resveratrol.  Drinking it in moderation, up to 2 glasses a day and no more than 14 small glasses per week for guys, could protect your heart against artery damage.

5. But Too Much Booze Hurts Your Heart

Image source / The Arbor
While two glasses of wine could help your heart, regular binge drinking places your heart in peril. College students who downed more than 4 drinks in two hours sustained changes in their blood vessel cells.  This left them prone to hardened arteries, according to the Journal Of The American College Of Cardiology.

6. Cancer WON'T Strike Your Heart

Image source / japan times
Cancer of the heart is exceptionally rare, about one case per year.  This is because the cells stop dividing early, so cancer-causing mutations are far less likely to occur.  Having said that, other cancers can affect or spread to your heart.

7. Bad Sex Is a Bad Sign For Your Heart

Image source / Wales online
If you visit doctor because, as a male, you are having difficulties with sex, you will probably get a heart test as well.  Erectile dysfunction is an early red-flag for heart problems because the blood vessels in the penis can sustain damage before the larger veins and arteries.

8. But Sex Can Save Your Heart!

Image source / Brighter world
Men who have sex twice a couple of times a week or more, appear less likely to develop heart disease compared to those who get busy once a month or less.  This information is according to the American Journal Of Cardiology.

9. Scientists Are Looking For Ways To Heal Your Heart

Image source / British Heart Foundation
Scientists have begun to work out ways to rebuild and repair heart tissue that has been damaged by a heart attack or a heart defect. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have 3D-printed coronary arteries and embryonic hearts.  They use soft proteins like collagens and fibrins.

10.  Your Heart Isn't Lazy!

Image source / FDA
Each day, your heart beats over 100,000 times. Over a 70-year lifetime, this adds up to 2.5 billion! An average resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 per minute and when you exercise ,your heart rate increases because your body has to pump more oxygenated blood to the cells.

11. A Poor Workout May Be A Sign Of A Heart Problem

Image source / Shape
Workouts not only boost heart health but they can also serve as the body’s 'check engine' light.  If you spend a few sessions in a row struggling to run the same pace you usually do or get much more out of breath when completing the same circuit you've done for ages, there may be something going on with your ticker.

12. Laughter Is Great For Your Heart

Image source / The Sun
Laughter is known to be a tonic and lifts our mood.  It also balances your stress hormones, reduces inflammation in the arteries and increases HDL or the 'good' cholesterol.  These positive effects can last at least 24 hours, according to the American Heart Association.

13. Your Heart Is As Fast As Lightening

Image source / Lumen Learning
One cardiac cycle, the contacting and relaxing of your heart muscle, or what we think of as a beat, takes 0.8 seconds.  That is fast!  A healthy human heart beats 72 times per minute which means there are 72 cardiac cycles per minute.

14. Your Heart Isn’t Located Where You Think

Image source / Harvard Health
You might put your hand on your left side when you're singing the national anthem, but your heart actually resides in the center of your chest, right below your sternum.  It tilts slightly slightly to the left, says UC San Diego cardiac electrophysiologist Amir Schricker, M.D.

15. Heart Attack Symptoms May Not Be What You Think

Image source / Temple Health
Most heart attacks begin with symptoms that are far more subtle than excruciating  chest pain.  The signs people often overlook include a heartburn-like tightness in and around the chest, shortness of breath, pain in the jaw, arm pain and nausea.

16. The Length of Your Heart’s Blood Vessels Is Crazy!

Image source / British Heart Foundation
If you stretched out all your blood vessels end to end, they would extend more than 60,000 miles long and wrap twice around the world!  Those vessels keep the blood flowing, supplying tissues with oxygen and nutrients, as well as keeping your organs, including the heart, healthy.

17. You Won’t Believe How Much Your Heart Pumps

Image source / My Doctor
You will have about 6 quarts of blood in your body right now. During the average lifetime, the heart will pump about a million barrels of the stuff. It continuously pumps about 5 litres (8 pints) of blood around your body through your circulatory system.

18. Would You Believe Your Heart Is Eco-Friendly!

Image source / Hindustan Times
There are more hospitalizations for heart problems on days where there are higher levels of large air particles.  Serious heart attacks strike more people who already suffer with heart disease on bad air days, so say researchers from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute.

19. Your Feet Can Signal an Impending Heart Issue

Image source / Medical News Today
Another cardiovascular red flag involves needing to go up a shoe size so they fit better.  When your heart starts to fail, the body retains water, causing swelling in your legs and feet.  This may make your regular size shoes feel too tight for you to wear.

20. Stethoscopes Make Examining Your Heart Way Less Creepy

Image source / Vecteezy
Doctors at one time used to put their ears directly on a patient’s chest to hear their heart.  In 1816, a French physician called Rene Laennec rolled up a thick sheet of paper to create the first stethoscope, placing one end to his ear and the other to his patient.

21. Sadness As a Kid Can Hurt Your Heart In Adulthood

Image source / Invictus
Childhood trauma can actually lead to heart problems down the line. Children who have family members in jail, are thought to be at double the risk of a heart attack in later life.  This may be because adversity in childhood boosts lifelong levels of the stress hormone cortisol.  Cortisol is linked to heart troubles.

22. Your Heart Can Have the Blues As Well As You

Image source / The Scientist
Any sudden emotional event can trigger what is known as broken heart syndrome.  Surges of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, can cause a part of your heart to temporarily enlarge, which reduces its pumping power. It’s not a heart attack as it doesn’t involve blocked arteries but can be fatal in rare cases.

23. Can Sneezing Stop Your Heart?

Image source / AP News
Despite popular belief or old wives tales, your heart does NOT stop when you sneeze.  The myth likely arose because of the changing pressure in your chest when you sneeze which alters blood flow, creating the sensation of  skipping a heartbeat.

24. Your Heart Sports Scars

Image source / Imperial College London
Unlike other organs and tissues in the bod, for example a cut on your skin or a broken bone, the heart cannot heal itself from damage. That is why fast treatment for a heart attack is absolutely key.  Each minute that passes can leave more of your heart scarred permanently.

25. Bigger Isn’t Always Better!

Image source / Peconic Bay
A larger heart muscle doesn’t mean better pumping power.  In fact, it is often the sign of a problem.  Some people are born with abnormally large heart muscles and this is called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, one of the reasons why athletes collapse suddenly from heart problems.

26. Those Extra Pounds Hurt Your Heart Whatever Your Age

Image source / The Guardian
Signs of heart disease, including thickened muscle tissues, have been discovered in obese kids as young as 8 by researchers at Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pennsylvania.  The extra weight can weigh down their hearts early on, boosting their odds of a cardiac event later in life.

27. Heart Problems CAN Lead to Better Heart Health

Image source / Freepik
Heart disease, or even heart surgery, shouldn’t bring your life to a sudden halt.  With a couple of lifestyle modifications, you have the ability to maybe live with a better heart health than you had before because you took for granted how to live your life.

28. Your Heart Is Like A House

Image source / Bristles
Your heart is a bit like a house.  Similar to a home, it has walls, rooms, doors, an electrical system and plumbing!  All the parts of your heart work together to keep the blood flowing and to send nutrients to your other organs.

29. First Ever Open Heart Surgery

Image source Insider
The first ever open heart surgery was carried out as far back as 1893. It was performed by Daniel Hale Williams, who was one of the very few black cardiologists in the United States at that time.  Of course, it was no where near as advanced as nowadays but gave patients new hope they may survive.

30. The Power Of The Heart

Image source / Joy Of Yoga
Every single day the heart creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles. During a lifetime, that is equivalent to driving to the moon and back!  The 'thump-thump”' of a heartbeat is the sound made by the 4 valves of the heart when they are closing.

31. A woman's heart beats more than a mans

Image source / reddit
A woman's heart actually has to beat more times a minute than a mans, so technically it's working harder all the time. This is because it has to beat more to achieve the same output of blood though the body. It will beat around 8 times more per minute than a mans heart does.

32. It's the only muscle that never rests

Image source / reddit
Every single muscle in your body has a rest at some point. In fact we feel when they need to rest, for example our eyes will start to close or our legs will ache. This shows us they need recovery time. But not our heart. It never tires and never stops working (usually) in our lifetime.

33. A foetal heart rate is around 150 beats per minute

Image source / reddit
Heart rate is completely linked the size of the body. The smaller something is, the faster it's heart will beat. A foetal heart has to work incredibly hard to pump the blood around the body. So the tiny little heart beats around 150 beats a second which is a very rapid rate.

34. The average adult heart is as large as two hands together

Image source / reddit
Put your hands together in two fists. This is approximately how bog the size of your heart is. Because our heart size depends on the size of our body. So this is a relatively good way to very loosely check how big your heart is and get an idea of one of the most vital organs inside of you!

35. The rhythm of the heart is called the lub and dub

Image source / reddit
The rhythm of the heart is that beating sound you can hear or feel when you really concentrate or you press to feel for it. The sounds that your heart make are called the  'lub' and 'dub'. The sound itself is actually caused by the four valves of the heart opening and closing, creating that familiar beat.

36. Your heart can beat outside your body

Image source / reddit
The heart causes its own heartbeat and does not require brain signals to function, so it's independent to some degree. It just needs to be provided with oxygen and your hear really can continue to beat outside of the body. It's a little freaky, I know!

37. It can survive up to 4 hours without a body

Image source / reddit
What's even stranger is the fact that the heart can survive up to four hours without a body! Just beating on its own. This is not always the case. The heart lasts longer alone when it is at a cold temperature. Imagine a heart lying beating with no body for four hours!

38. Dark chocolate may be heart healthy!

Image source / reddit
Okay chocolate lovers there's some good and bad news. Good news is that dark chocolate could be good for your heart! Bad news is milk chocolate doesn't count. It's just chocolate that is around 70% cocoa or higher. It is thought by some that the antioxidants found in dark chocolate can decrease inflammation and blood pressure which can be good for for the heart.

39. Music may be beneficial for your heart

Image source / reddit
Music has a huge impression upon our minds and also our bodies. According to some studies, relaxing music can slow down your heart rate which can help lower your blood pressure. Some studies have show how the heart may actually link together with the timing of the music.

40. Your tongue can show how healthy your heart is

Image source / reddit
Bodily health can really show through our mouth health. And, with a simple mouth inspection some doctors may be able to discover a lot more than you think...including your heart health. Healthy tongues are usually pinkish in colour with a white light coating. Oral hygiene may be linked to causing heart disease.

41. The hatred of Mondays runs deep!

Image source / reddit
So Mondays suck for a reason. More heart attacks happen on a Monday than any other day for the week. Some believe this is because over the weekend we reset our body clock. Then, on Monday it is a real shock to the system when we are forced to get up for work and it can actually increase our blood pressure, leading to heart attacks.

42. Christmas Eve is dangerous for the heart

Image source / reddit
At 10pm on Christmas Eve (supposedly one of the best days of the year) the most heart attacks happen of all of the days of the year. Factors such as stress and seasonal depression have been considered as factors. The statistics show that you are 37% more at risk of a heart attack on Christmas Eve.

43. The symptoms vary between men and women

Image source / reddit
Symptoms of heart attacks vary massively depending on gender. If you are a woman, you may have more subtle signs of a heart attack which can be hard to identify. For example some symptoms are flu like, such as back pressure and exhaustion and it can lead to misdiagnosis!

44. Egyptians believed that the heart was out personality and soul

Image source / reddit
The Egyptians knew a lot of things, but one thing they did not have right was hoe important the heart was. They did not believe that it was not a vital organ, and so it was removed during the mummifying processes. They thought it was more symbolic - that it contained out soul and personality.

45. The left and right side of the heart are responsible for different things

Image source / reddit
The right and left side of our hearts are responsible for different things, they have different jobs but these things world together in synchroneity. The right side of the heart sends blood to your lungs, while the left moves the blood back into your body.

46. If a tap did as much work as the heart - it would run for 45 years

Image source / reddit
If you want to get into perspective just how amazing and impressive our heart is then this is the way. To achieve the same amount of blood as our heart pumps, you would have to leave a tap running for 45 years. Non stop! That is a whole lot of water...

47. Your heart supplies around 75 trillion cells

Image source / reddit
The heart works incredibly hard. We know by now just how much the heart is really doing for our body. And when you put it into perspective it's even more impressive. Our body is made up of around 75 trillion cells - and the heart provides blood to all (well, apart from the corneas).

48. Smoking increases your risk of a heart attack by 200%-400%

Image source / reddit
As if you needed another reason to smoke - here's another one. Regular smoking may increase the risk of a heart attack by 200-400%. That's not a risk worth taking! And, apparently smoking just one a day increases your risk of a heart attack by 50%.

49. Ventricle is Latin for 'little belly'

Image source / reddit
A lot of words derived from Latin, even the words for our body. The Atrium (the upper chambers of the heart) is Latin for entrance hall. Which, makes sense when you think about it. The Ventricles are the lower chambers of the heart, which are Latin for 'little belly'.

50. The representing heart shape came from a leaf

Image source / reddit
The shape of a heart and a real heart have pretty much no relation to one another. The heart organ has l has become associated with the symbol and meaning of the heart. It is thought that this symbolic representation came 100s of years ago from the shape of a leaf, which looks like a heart as we know it today.

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