“What is stronger than the human heart, which shatters over and over and still lives?”. This beautiful quote by lovely Canadian poet, Rupi Kaur, rings true to the figurative strength of the human heart.
But how much do you really know about the importance of your heart function?
Contrary to popular belief, the heart is actually located in the middle of your chest and not to the left as many believe. It’s about the size of a fist and situated right above the diaphragm – nestled in between your lungs.
These are just a few facts about the human heart that you may not know. Your heart is one of the most vital organs in your body. Understanding the function of your heart is important to your overall health.
Keep reading to learn more important facts about the heart and how you can ensure that your lifestyle is heart-healthy.
1. The Heart Beats 100,000 Times Per Day
According to most studies, a healthy human heart beats 60 to 100 times per minute. For an average healthy adult, that’s 100,000 times per day and over 2 billion over the course of their lives.
While this is an average number, those with lower or higher heart rates than this figure tend to show signs of heart problems.
You might be surprised to know that newborn babies actually have the highest heartbeats. Their tiny hearts beat anywhere from 70 to 190 times per minute.
Additionally, professional athletes generally have slower heartbeats, beating anywhere from 40 to 60 times per minute.
2. Blood Vessels Supporting the Heart Cover 60,000 Miles
This is one of the coolest facts about the heart.
The arteries, veins, and capillaries make up the three types of blood vessels that support the heart and the body.
Imagine untangling these blood vessels and spreading them from end to end. They can make their way around the world two and a half times – that’s pretty mind-blowing.
These arteries must be well taken care of. With fat and cholesterol build up in the vessels, you are prone to heart diseases such as stroke and coronary artery disease.
3. If You Suffer a Heart Attack, It’s Probably Monday
As if Mondays aren’t bad enough already. Statistics show that heart attacks happen on Mondays more than on other days of the week.
In fact, heart attacks for men were 20% more likely for men on Mondays and 15% more likely for women. This might be due to the stress of returning to work after a weekend or a holiday.
Sadly, holidays are also quite common for heart attacks. Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day take the top spots for heart attack occurrences.
4. A Woman’s Heartbeat Is Faster
Although a man’s heart is about 25% larger than a woman’s, the female heart pumps out six more beats on average per minute. This means that a woman’s heart is actually working harder to pump blood.
With one beat, a man’s heart is able to pump more blood to the heart. Because of this, men generally are fast runners, even though women have faster heartbeats.
5. Broken Hearts Are Real
This is one of those human heart facts that might surprise you. You may have experienced the feeling of being “broken-hearted” where it literally feels like there is physical pain in your heart. There is actually science behind this sensation.
It’s appropriately named broken heart syndrome. The symptoms are similar to those of a heart attack, but the causes are different.
A heart attack is caused by a type of heart disease, while this syndrome is due to heightened emotional stress caused by a traumatic event.
It is very rare to die from broken heart syndrome, but it’s not entirely impossible.
6. The Heart Still Beats Outside of The Body
This is quite a fun and freaky fact about the human heart. Once it’s disconnected from the body, your heart continues to beat.
There is a scientific explanation for this that makes it sound less scary. The sinoatrial node continues to send impulses through the heart, allowing it to keep on beating for up to five minutes.
What’s even more interesting is that during a heart transplant, doctors can keep the heart on ice, allowing it to remain functional for up to four hours.
7. Open Heart Surgery Dates Back 125 Years
In 1893, the first open-heart surgery was performed in Chicago by Dr. Daniel Hale Williams. During this time he was one of the first black cardiologists in the U.S.
The procedure was done without anesthesia, x-rays, antibiotics, surgery preparation, or any of the tools used for the complex procedure today. The patient survived and left the hospital after 51 days.
Dr. Williams became one of the most prominent doctors in Chicago for his skilled and remarkable work.
8. Several Factors Can Affect Heart Rate
There are many things that can increase and decrease your heart rate. You want to ensure that your heart rate is between 60-100 beats per minute and ensure that your lifestyle promotes a healthy heart.
These are some reasons that your heart rate can fluctuate:
- Temperature and humidity can cause an increase in your heart rate
- Regular exercise can make your heart rate stronger and more stable
- Emotional stress, anxiety, and excitement can raise your pulse
- Eating healthy foods with antioxidants can regulate your heart rate
- Heavier body weight can cause your heart to work overtime
- Meditation and breathing exercises can normalize your pulse
- Certain medications like beta-blockers can slow your heart rate
- Tobacco and caffeine greatly increase your heart rate.
Your heart is one of the most vital organs in your body. Keeping your heart rate at a healthy level is crucial for your overall health.
9. Heart Disease Is Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.
Heart disease is currently the primary cause of death in America.
Common heart diseases include high blood pressure, arrhythmia, heart attack, and unstable angina.
If you want to know how to have a healthy heart, you must know what to look for in common heart problems. You must also avoid lifestyle choices that lead to these diseases.
An echocardiogram can help your physician detect heart issues. They can diagnose and prevent certain heart conditions.
They can check for valve problems, thickening of heart tissue, clotting, and blood flow. It is also useful in checking that there is enough blood pumping through your body and that your heart valves are opening and closing as they should be.
Ensure that you have your physician explain a normal vs abnormal echocardiogram, and take steps to tackle the issue before it gets worse.
10. Having a Big Heart Might Be Problematic
They say if you have a big heart that you are extra loving, and while that is a good thing, metaphorically, having a physically larger heart might lead to heart-related diseases.
You can be born with an enlarged heart or it can develop over time from certain conditions. Many diseases cause the heart to get bigger because it has to work overtime to pump blood through your body.
Fatty deposits can cause your arteries to narrow and thus prevent sufficient blood flow to your heart. High blood pressure can also lead to an enlarged heart. These are the two most common conditions that can make your heart bigger.
11. If You Are Bald, You Might Be Prone to Heart Disease
This is a strange fact, but there is a correlation between male-pattern baldness and the increased risk of developing heart disease.
Specifically, men with hair loss around the crown area have a 23% increase in risk while those with total hair loss have a 36% increase in risk.
Hair loss and its relation to heart disease might be genetic, but the link is not known for sure. Some experts say it could be due to the level of testosterone. It can cause changes in hair growth and cause the arteries to harden.
Your risk is even higher if you’re a balding male with high cholesterol. You want to ensure that your diet is low in cholesterol and fat intake.
Don’t Skip a Beat with These Facts About the Human Heart
Protecting your heart is important – literally and figuratively. The human heart is strong and durable, but it needs to be supported and trained in the proper way to do its job. Because heart disease is the number one cause of death for Americans, you must ensure to keep a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Get your heart checked regularly with an echocardiogram and take extra care of your physical and emotional health. These can have a tremendous effect on your heart – especially on Mondays.
If you enjoyed these facts about the human heart, keep visiting our blog for more helpful tips on healthy living.