February is best known for Valentine’s Day, but did you know that it is also American Heart Month? The heart is such an important, and interesting, organ in the body. It keeps our bodies running, keeps the blood moving, and is one of the parts of the body doctors are still learning about!
This fist-sized organ is one of the vital organs for life, and keeping it healthy is really important. Being active, moving, and eating a healthy diet all contribute to keeping the heart working properly. Leafy green vegetables, healthy fats, and fiber keep your arteries clear and that helps your heart function well. These healthy habits should start early, so that it is natural and easy for our children to maintain a healthy and happy heart for their lifetimes. Following through with an eye toward heart-health will not only teach great habits to our kids, but can improve health for parents.
The heart is a really cool organ too. It functions uniquely compared to other organs, and it has fascinated people for centuries. Greeks, Egyptians, and many other cultures believed they understood the importance of the heart, attributing it as the source of love in all human beings. While the ancients may not have understood how the heart worked, the more we have learned about it, the more interesting it actually is.
Here are ten fun heart facts:
- The heart beats, on average, approximately 115,000 times per day.
- The cardiac conduction system is the electrical system in the body that controls the heart’s rhythm.
- A 3,500 year-old mummy in Egypt is the first known case of heart disease.
- Because laughter reduces stress and can give a boost to the immune system, it is considered good for your heart. It sends 20% more blood through the body.
- The aorta is the biggest artery in the body, and it runs from the heart to the stomach, It is the size of a garden hose.
- Studies show that horses,cats, and dogs can mimic the human heart rates, which makes them excellent therapy friends.
- There are approximately 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the body. That’s a long distance! For reference, the equator is approximately 24,901 square miles.
- The heart is located under the breast-bone in the center of the chest, but it is tilted slightly to the left.
- Heart cancer is rare, in part, because heart cells do not continue dividing, unlike many other cell-types in the body.
- The heart technically only pumps blood in one direction. Arteries and veins have one-way valves at certain points to prevent blood from going backwards.
By Bethany Verrett