The Human Heart: 3 Impressive Facts and More to Love
It’s at the center of our working anatomy; the core of our strength; the organ that ensures nutrients and oxygen reach all the way to the outer regions of our extremities. There is a reason we cross our heart when making promises, place our hand on it when we pledge allegiance, and devote an entire holiday to it. The human heart can be excited, broken, stolen, but most of all you can’t live or love without it.
Your heart is a robust muscle to say the least. How strong? Many of us have no idea but here is a fact from livescience.com: In one day, the heart beats approximately 100,000 times, moving close to 2,000 gallons of blood through upwards of 60,000 miles of blood vessels throughout our body. That is one powerful pump! Here are some more facts for you to learn and enjoy.
1) Laughter is good heart medicine
According to many health experts as documented on WebMD, a good belly laugh can increase blood flow throughout your body by as much as 20 percent. Research shows that laughter not only reduces stress but also relaxes the blood vessel wall lining (endothelium) allowing blood flow to increase flow for up to 45 minutes. For those who have damage to the endothelium, it might be a good idea to schedule regular visits to your local comedy club or at least a few comedic date nights.
2) Men and women have VERY different hearts
Although men and women have many things in common when it comes to affairs of the heart, the truth is our hearts are very different. From size and weight to the symptoms of a heart attack, the human heart is definitely not created equal.
As you probably suspect, a man’s heart is bigger than a woman’s, weighing in at about 10 ounces while a woman’s heart weighs close to 8 ounces. Not only is a woman’s heart smaller, heart disease may be harder to detect and heart attack symptoms in women are quite different than the hallmark chest pain and shortness of breath in men, including nausea, indigestion, shoulder pain, and in some incidences back and jaw pain.
One thing is definitely the same between men and women; heart disease is the biggest killer of both.
3) How Monday morning stress affects your heart
Another bit of helpful information according to a New York Times article published back in March 2006, “In several studies of various populations over the years, scientists have found that deaths from heart attacks follow a pattern. They occur at the lowest rates on weekends, jump significantly on Mondays, then drop again on Tuesdays.”
As it turns out, when we encounter stress, a hormone called cortisol releases causing plaque from an over production of cholesterol to rupture and break free. A deadly combination of this hormone, a rise in blood pressure, and an increased heart rate can cause the plaque to block the flow of blood, inciting a heart attack.
For this reason alone, it’s important to consider taking steps to reduce Monday morning stress like meditation, exercise, laughter, or quality time with a friend (even the four-legged kind).