American Heart Month is celebrated nationwide in February, making it an excellent time to take note of this impressive and powerful organ. Healthcare professionals and scientists have made amazing discoveries about this vital muscle's abilities, and these astounding facts help get to the heart of why heart health matters.
1. The human heart beats 100,000 times each day.
Talk about rhythm! This internal timepiece ticks approximately 35 million times over the course of only one year.
2. Look to your hand for an idea of your heart's size.
Making a fist provides a rough estimate of the size of your heart. Similarly, a child's heart is approximately half that size.
3. A normal heart valve is roughly the size of a half-dollar.
An open and healthy heart valve can expand to around 1.2" in diameter. Unfortunately, calcification can result in a narrowing of the valve, which is a condition referred to as stenosis.
4. Laughter is literally good for your heart.
Science supports the notion that laughter is indeed some excellent medicine. Laughing reduces inflammation and stress hormone levels while increasing good cholesterol (HDL).
5. The heart pumps 1.5 gallons of blood every minute.
And that's at rest! Depending on the level of exertion and activity, the amount of pumping may increase five fold. Impressively, a healthy heart will pump approximately 48 million gallons over the course of a lifetime.
6. The stethoscope was invented due to modesty.
In earlier days, physicians would need to place their heads on patients' chests to monitor their heart rates. The stethoscope, which was invented in 1816, prevented this awkward encounter.
7. Heart attack rates rise significantly on Christmas Day.
The holiday season doesn't just seem stressful; it's actually the most common time for an adult to experience myocardial infarction, or a heart attack. The other high-risk days include the day after Christmas and New Year's Day.
8. Each day, the heart creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles.
Over the course of an average lifetime, this energy adds up to the capacity to travel to the moon and back!
9. The heart has its own electrical impulse.
This impulse allows the heart to remain functional and beating outside of the human body as long as it receives a steady supply of oxygen.
10. Members of a singing choir experience heart rhythm synchrony.
A Swedish study surprised researchers when it showed choir members' hearts synchronizing as they sang melodies. This phenomenon is attributed to breathing patterns required throughout the lyrical performance.
Keeping Your Heart Healthy Heart
The heart is an incredible muscle that deserves a healthy lifestyle for all the work it does for the human body. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so keep your regular check-ups, eat properly, and exercise regularly. Treat your heart right to keep it ticking at its full capacity for improved longevity and quality of life.
Interested in healthcare? Explore the programs in South University's College of Nursing and Public Health or our College of Health Professions.