February is Heart Health Month. If you're planning on making improvements to your hearts health start now and celebrate those wins during heart health month.
We’re sharing some impressive, fun, helpful and sometimes shocking facts about the heart in an effort to draw attention to the importance of good cardiovascular health. Read on to learn more about this all-important organ and how you can keep your heart healthy.
Heart Health Fact #1
With every beat of your heart blood is sent flowing through 60,000 miles of blood vessels, delivering important nutrition and oxygen to all your organs and tissues. If you stretched the blood vessels in your body end-to-end, they’d circle the Earth almost 2.5 times! [Cleveland Clinic]
Heart Health Fact #2
Laughing may, in fact, be good for your heart and overall health! Research suggests a good belly laugh can increase your blood flow by 20%. The positive effects of this chuckle can last for 24 hours. [American Heart Association]
Heart Health Fact #3
Sadly, only 27% of people can identify all the major symptoms of a heart attack and know to call 911 immediately when they occur. Immediate action saves lives! According to the CDC, the major signs of a heart attack are:
- Chest pain or discomfort.
- Upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach.
- Shortness of breath.
- Nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats.
Heart Health Fact #4
A woman’s heart typically beats faster than a man’s. On average, a woman’s heart beats 78 times per minute while the average man’s beats 70 times. [Chilnick, Lawrence. 2008. Heart Disease: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed. Philadelphia, PA: Perseus Books Group.]
Heart Health Fact #5
Evidence of heart disease found in ancient mummies from around the world suggests heart disease has been an issue for thousands of years. Not long ago, researchers reviewed CT scans of 76 Egyptian mummies, and 38 percent were found to have probable or definite calcification in their arteries. [Global Heart Journal]
Heart Health Fact #6
Did you know that an octopus has three hearts but a jellyfish doesn’t have a heart at all? Two of the hearts in an octopus pump blood (it happens to be the color blue) to the gills, while the third circulates it throughout the rest of the body. [NOAA]
Heart Health Fact #7
About 1 in every 6 U.S. healthcare dollars is spent on cardiovascular disease each year. It’s the most costly condition in America. When you factor in lost productivity, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates heart disease and stroke costs our country more than $320 billion a year. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
Heart Health Fact #8
Before the invention of the stethoscope in 1816 a doctor would listen to his patient’s heart by placing his ear to the patient’s bare chest. A French doctor, who thought this approach was both awkward and of limited clinical value, used a rolled sheet of paper to create an aural tube that led soon thereafter led to the stethoscope’s invention. [US National Library of Medicine]
Heart Health Fact #9
The No. 1 killer of women in America is heart disease. It’s more deadly each year than all forms of cancer combined. Some 43 million American women have heart disease, although females comprise only 24 percent of all heart-related study participants. [American Heart Association]
Heart Health Fact #10
Sadly, 133,000 Americans die of heart attacks each year. [Wall Street Journal]
Heart Health Fact #11
Heart attack sufferers do best when treated within an hour of symptoms starting. Sadly, many wait hours before seeking help. [Wall Street Journal]
Heart Health Fact #12
Healthy heart, healthy mind. Good heart health when you're young may increase your chances of staying mentally sharp as you age. [American Heart Association]
Heart Health Fact #13
Researchers think Beethoven had an irregular heartbeat and that the condition may have inspired his greatest music. What's your favorite Beethoven piece? [A History of the Disorders of Cardiac Rhythms by Berndt Lüderitz]
Heart Health Fact #14
Your heart looks nothing like a Valentine heart. This powerhouse organ is actually shaped more like an upside-down pear. [Cleveland Clinic]
Heart Health Fact #15
Run as fast as you can but you'll never get your heart to beat as fast as the Etruscan shrew. Its tiny heart hammers away an amazing 835 times a minute! [Journal of Experimental Biology]
Heart Health Fact #16
Happy birthday, EKG! This vital medical instrument was invented 114 years ago and revolutionized the way in which heart problems are detected. [Cleveland Clinic]
Heart Health Fact #17
An adult heart pumps more than a gallon of blood per minute - enough to fill 38,000 drinking glasses each day! [Cleveland Clinic]
Heart Health Fact #18
Electric paddles aren't really used to re-start the heart. Doctors use them when it starts to beat in a dangerously irregular pattern. [Cleveland Clinic]
Heart Health Fact #19
Keep Calm and … Stay Heart Healthy? Studies suggest angry outbursts can boost the chance of heart attack and stroke. [Harvard School of Medicine]
Heart Health Fact #20
Your heart pumps blood to 75 TRILLION cells throughout your body. Almost everywhere … except your corneas. [Molecular Biology of the Cell, Garland Science]
Heart Health Fact #21
A beating heart puts out between 1 and 5 watts of energy - about the same amount of electricity your DVR uses when on standby. [National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute]
Heart Health Fact #22
Suspect a heart attack? Stay out of the car and call 911. An ambulance is the fastest, safest option for help. [National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute]
Heart Health Fact #23
Love heals? Research shows married heart surgery patients make better recoveries than single patients. [JAMA Surgery]
Heart Health Fact #24
It seems you really can die of a broken heart. Studies suggest sad news or events may increase the risk of heart attacks. [American Heart Association]
Heart Health Fact #25
The heart as always been a source of mystery. The Greeks thought it housed the spirit, the Chinese thought it was the center of happiness and the Egyptians pegged it as the source of intellect and emotion. [Encyclopedia Britannica]
Heart Health Fact #26
Studies have found yoga is effective in slowing down your heart rate, which can help lower your blood pressure. [American Heart Association]
Heart Health Fact #27
Each year 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Knowing the warning signs increase your chances of survival. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
Heart Health Fact #28
Your heart pumps 1 million barrels of blood in an average lifetime. That's enough blood to fill more than 1,500 Olympic sized swimming pools! [George Washington University Heart & Vascular Institute]
Heart Health Fact #28+1
Death from heart disease fell 38% from 2003-2013, prompting a leading heart expert to predict it may soon stop being the leading cause of death in America. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
Which fact inspired you to improve your heart health? To learn more about heart-healthy and healthy aging tips, check out our other articles!
This article is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as or substituted for medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health care provider with any questions about your health or a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have read on the internet.