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26 Fascinating And Interesting Facts About The Heart

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Fascinating And Interesting Facts About The Heart
Fascinating And Interesting Facts About The Heart

It is certainly the most incredible organ in our body since it is the one that gives us life. So, here are some fascinating facts about your heart...

Technically, the heart is still another muscle in our body with the function of pumping blood. It is the main organ of the circulatory system and works as a pump that sucks and drives blood so that it reaches all the organs and tissues of the body.

Despite the relative simplicity of its operation, the heart is a surprising organ that hides some curiosities worth mentioning. In this article, we will review some of the most curious facts about the heart, its physiology, functioning, limits, etc.

Interesting Facts And Trivia About The Heart

1. Heart Is The Strongest Muscle In Our Body

The heart, although there is debate about it, is perhaps the strongest muscle in the human body. It supports pressure constantly and does not stop working at any time, something that does not happen with the other muscles of the body. It takes a lot of energy to move your blood through your body, and that is why a strong, healthy heart is so important. The heart, which is the muscle, has twice the power of the leg muscles of someone sprinting. At rest, the working capacity is approximately 1.3 Watts and approximately 3 Watts under maximum effort. Among very athletic people, the heart can reach a capacity of 500 Watts. Despite its small size, it has enough force to pump blood at about 2 kilometers per hour and for it to reach all parts of the body.

2. Beats More Than 3,000 Million Times Throughout Life

The human heart beats, on average, 80 times per minute. The heart does it without rest, which means that in the course of a day he makes about 115,200 beats. In one year, therefore, it is about 42 million heartbeats. Taking into account that life expectancy is approximately 82 years, a human heart beats 3.5 billion times in a lifetime. However, during intense physical activity, the heart beats much faster, reaching 200 beats per minute. 

3. The Heart Pumps More Than 7,000 Liters Of Blood A Day

With each beat, the heart pumps about 70 milliliters of blood. Taking into account that it beats about 80 times per minute, it pumps about 5 liters of blood every minute. The heart pumps more than 7,000 liters of blood a day, enough to fill about 30 bathtubs.

Over the course of a year, it has pumped 2.5 million liters of blood, almost enough to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool. Therefore, in the course of a lifetime, it will have pumped more than 200 million liters of blood, being able to fill 62 Olympic swimming pools. In a lifetime, the heart pumps 1 billion drums of blood through the body, enough to fill three trucks.

4. A Baby's Heart Beats Faster Than An Adult's

As we mentioned earlier, an adult's heart beats about 80 times per minute. That of babies does it faster, being able to reach 190 beats per minute. The heart of a fetus begins to beat when the fetus is only four weeks old in its mother's womb. A few weeks later, it reaches almost 200 beats per minute, then it slows down over the course of life: Newborn: 150, Adolescent: 85, Adult 72.

5. The Human Heart Is The Size Of A Fist

The human heart weighs between 280 and 340 grams in men; in women, between 230 and 280 grams. It is about the size of a large closed fist.

An adult heart makes about two fists while a child's heart makes one. 

6. The Network Of Capillaries In Our Body Would Go Around The World Twice

The heart pumps blood throughout the circulatory system, including arteries, veins, and capillaries. If we took this network and put it in a straight line, we would obtain a thread of more than 80,000 kilometers. This means that there are enough capillaries inside us to go around the world twice since the circumference of the world is 40,000 km. Moreover, capillaries, which are small blood vessels, can make up about 80 percent of this length. Some of these capillaries are ten times smaller than a human hair, averaging about 8 microns (1/3000 inch) in diameter. They are so small that red blood cells are about the same size as them having to move single-files through them. Oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged through the very thin capillary walls.

7. Does Heart Cancer Exist?

The cells of the heart, unlike other organs, stop dividing after birth. By not dividing, it is quite unusual for cells to become cancerous, since an essential condition for forming cancer is that the cells of the organ in question divide uncontrollably.

That is why heart cancer exists but it is very rare, it only occurs in newborns who have developed cancer during their growth in the uterus.

8. Why Is The Heart On The Left?

The heart is on the left because a series of genes prompt it to do so. This is so because by locating to the left, performance is increased since there is an agreement with the position of the veins and arteries of the body. The heart is located almost centrally beneath the breastbone but extends to the left. This is because the lower left chamber of the heart (left ventricle) is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood throughout the body, so it needs to be stronger and larger than the right ventricle, which pumps only blood to the lungs. This is the left ventricle you can feel beating on your chest. One in 10,000 people actually has a heart with a mirror image pointing to the right - a condition known as 'dextrocardia'

9. The Heart That Beats 1,200 Times Per Minute

If we said that the human heart beats about 80 times per minute, there is an organism whose heart beats 15 times faster. It is a species of shrew that also happens to be the smallest mammal in the world, with an adult size of 5.4 cm.

Its short life expectancy (about 16 months) is explained by the incredibly fast beating of its heart: about 1,200 beats per minute. Our heart has to wait 20 years to match the beats that this shrew has made in its 16 months of life.

10. Can The Heart Beat Outside The Body?

A heart taken out of the human body can keep beating and remain functional for hours. The beating of the heart occurs because the heart produces its own electrical impulses, which cause it to beat. As long as the heart continues to receive oxygen, it will continue, even if separated from the rest of the body.

This is key, for transplants and is because the heart is an autonomous organ and can contract on its own thanks to the electrical impulses it generates and the special muscle cells it is equipped with.

11. How Many Deaths Are Caused By Heart Disease?

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. Every year, around 17 million people die in the world due to diseases related to the heart, which represents 32% of all deaths.

12. Most Heart Attacks Occur On Monday Morning

It is not known exactly why, but statistics indicate that most heart attacks occur on Mondays. Actually, the risk of getting a heart attack is 11 percent higher on Monday than on any other day of the week. Stress hormones are found to be higher in the morning than in any other time in the day, and on Mondays, in particular, they seem to cause more stress than other days of the week. Increased blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones can break the plaque pockets in the coronary artery and cause heart failure.

In addition, Christmas is the day of the year with the highest incidence of heart attacks.

13. When Was The First Open Heart Operation Performed?

The first open-heart operation was performed in 1893 and was carried out by Dr. Daniel Hale Williams in the United States, who received a case of a young man who had been stabbed. The doctor treated the wound with sutures.

14. When Was The First Heart Transplant Performed?

The first heart transplant was performed in 1967 in Cape Town, South Africa, and the patient who received it lived for 18 days before dying of pneumonia.

To date, the longest survival for a patient who has received a heart transplant has been 22 years and 10 months.

15. Is It Possible To Die From A “Broken Heart”?

The "broken heart syndrome" exists and is caused by abrupt hormonal stress as a result of a very strong emotional or physical impact. This condition called stress cardiomyopathy involves a sudden, temporary weakening of the heart muscle (myocardium). This causes symptoms similar to those of heart attack, including chest pain, shortness of breath, and arm pain (even though the heart is perfectly healthy). Luckily, with a little rest, your heart will begin to feel normal. Death, although extremely rare, is possible.

The condition of "broken heart syndrome" can be caused by an emotional event, such as the death of a loved one or divorce, separation, or physical separation from a loved one.

16. Mummies With Heart Disease

You have to go back 3,500 years in history to find the first evidence of cardiovascular disease, observed in a mummy discovered in Egypt. Investigating his remains allowed investigators to identify evidence that the person had suffered from heart disease in life. 

Interestingly, the ancient Egyptians were cardio-centric; they believed that the heart, not the brain, was the source of feelings, wisdom, and memory, among other things. In fact, during the mummification process, the Egyptians carefully removed and preserved the heart and other organs, but they removed their brains out through the nose and discarded it.

17. The Heart Does Not Send Blood To All Parts Of Our Body

Contrary to what it may seem, the heart does not send blood throughout the body. The heart pumps blood to the 75 trillion cells. It is true that practically all organs and tissues receive blood, but there is one exception: the cornea. It is the transparent part of the eye that allows light to pass through.

If we received blood, we would not see anything since it would not allow the rays of light to reach the interior of the eye. This structure receives all the nutrients it needs through aqueous humor, a liquid that bathes the cornea and where all the necessary elements are dissolved.

18. What Is The Part Of The Body That Receives The Most Blood?

The organ that is most supplied with blood is the liver. The liver receives about 27% of the total volume of the cardiac output i.e. about 1500 ml of blood per minute. The liver is closely followed by the kidneys in terms of the blood supply. The kidney receives about 23% of the cardiac output, which is approximately 1200 ml per minute. They are followed by the brain, which also receives a significant blood supply: between 15 and 20%.

19. Women's Hearts Beat Faster

Women's hearts beat, on average, about 10 times more per minute than men’s. This is because its size is smaller and with each beat, it pumps less blood, so it has to compensate by increasing the number of beats.

20. Men And Women Have Different Heart Attack Symptoms

Heart attack symptoms in women are less pronounced than in men. For women, a heart attack can feel like a squeezing discomfort, pressure, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest. It can also cause pain in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach, shortness of breath, nausea, and other symptoms. Men experience typical heart attack symptoms such as chest pain, discomfort, and pressure. They can also experience pain in other areas, such as the arms, neck, back, and jaw, as well as shortness of breath, sweating, and discomfort that resembles heartburn.

21. Is Laughing Good For The Heart?

Yes, it is. In fact, it has many benefits for our heart, as it encourages the release of endorphins, hormones that contribute to vasodilatation. Thus, it increases blood circulation and improves the functioning of the heart.

Research has shown that your blood vessels relax when you laugh, which sends 20% more blood throughout your body. Relaxing blood vessels means your heart doesn't have to work that hard.

At the University of Texas, Austin, researchers asked 17 adults to watch a 30-minute humorous video of their choice or a documentary, before and after a blood flow test. The main differences between the two groups were in arterial function measurements (a test called flow-mediated dilation) and flexibility (an indicator of carotid artery augmentation index). These parameters improved immediately for volunteers who watched the comedy show and remained so for about 24 hours. For those watching the documentary, however, the performance of the artery function has decreased slightly.

Studies show that brain chemicals called endorphins, released during laughter, stimulate the inner lining of blood vessels, known as the endothelium. This, in turn, releases nitric oxide, a molecule known to relax blood vessels.

At the same time, laughter can help to reduce the production of stress hormones, including cortisol and epinephrine, which are known to cause blood vessels to become depressed, increase the risk of high blood pressure, and stroke and heart disease.

22. The Animal With The Smallest Heart

Members of Mymaridae, a family of wasps that include the smallest species of insects, have the organisms with the smallest hearts in nature. Considering that these insects measure 0.2 millimeters, a microscope would be needed to look at their heart.

23. The Animal With The Biggest Heart

This title is taken by the blue whale, because its heart is the size of a blue whale and can weigh 680 kilograms, almost as much as an adult cow. A blue whale's heart beats only five times per minute.

24. The Animal With The Heart Backward

The giraffe is the only animal with an upside-down heart, as its left ventricle is wider than the right, otherwise than the rest of the animals. This is because the left ventricle is the one that pumps the blood through the giraffe's neck, so it needs more power to circulate the blood through it.

25. It Is Possible To Synchronize The Heartbeat With Another Person

Recent research also shows that when people are watching an emotional movie or singing together, their heart rate and breathing rate synchronize. A study conducted in Sweden showed that singers in choirs synchronize their heartbeats with each other. This is because they coordinate their breathing when singing in a group, which leads to a synchronization in the heartbeat as well.

26. Where Does The Iconic Heart Shape With Which We Symbolize It Come From?

It is believed that the traditional form with which we symbolize the human heart comes from the morphology of the silphium, a plant highly valued in ancient times due to its properties as food and medicine.

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