The human body is a pretty amazing thing. It manages to not only keep us alive but fixes things when they go awry without requiring much from us besides sleeping and eating. It's a pretty good deal we've got worked out. Pretty much every organ in the body is a real marvel, but the heart is particularly fascinating since we can actually feel it beating and pumping blood literally the entire time we're alive. Shout out to the heart. Our hearts are such bad a$$es that our lungs actually grow to be different sizes to make room for it to nestle in there. Here are 13 facts about the heart that are pretty mind boggling.
13 Your Heart Wants You To Take A Vacation
Study after study has shown that working too much is not good for your well-being, your body, and especially not your heart. Workaholics (those who work 11 hours a day) are 67 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those who work a regular 8-hour day. Not to mention that skipping tons of sleep over the long-term can lead to irregular heartbeats that are called premature ventricular contractions. Let's be honest, anyone who's working 11 hours a day is probably not getting a solid night of sleep.
12 Couples In Love Can Synchronize Their Heart Rates
Researchers have found that when people who are in love stare into each other's eyes for three minutes, they can actually synchronize their heart rates. A study done at UC Davis had couples sit across from each other and silently mimic each other. They were able to match up their heart rates while perfect strangers couldn't. The women ended up adjusting to their partners more than the men adjusted to the women. Pretty cool, huh?
11 Women Have Different Heart Attack Symptoms
For men, a tell-tale heart attack symptom is chest pain, but women don't necessarily experience that. Instead, we're more likely to experience aching shoulders, nausea and indigestion, extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and so on. These symptoms can even be so mild that it's hard to tell that they're even happening. Overall, trusting your gut is the most important thing you can do for your health. If you feel like something is up, whether it's heart related or not, you should call a doctor, hands down.
10 The Big O Is Good For Your Heart
Climaxing three times a week actually cuts down the odds of getting coronary heart disease by half. The deed itself can be a bit of a workout, and the more of that we get, the better. Aerobic exercise can lower blood pressure, reduce stress levels, and improve emotional health. Stress has negative impacts on your heart immediately since it constricts the blood vessels which speeds up your heart rate. Negative emotions can lead to heart attack risk like having high cholesterol can. Climaxing can also cause the body to release the hormone oxytocin, which also lowers blood pressure.
9 Cheating Is Bad For Your Heart
On the other hand, cheating isn't the greatest thing when it comes to heart health. Okay, maybe that's a bit of a generalization, but think about this: it's pretty rare for a man to experience a sudden heart attack during the deed, but when they do occur, 75 percent happen when the guy is cheating on his wife. Insert shocked emoji. This happens from time to time on TV, right? There are a few different reasons why this probably happens, from the stress involved to the excitement of the whole situation. Ugh. Whatever it is, spread the news.
8 Your Heart Could Drive A Truck
Well, not exactly... But your heart produces enough energy to be able to drive a truck for 20 miles every day. Driving a car for that distance usually takes a gallon gas. Keep in mind that the human heart is only about 11 ounces, so the heart ends up doing most of the physical work of any of your muscles in a lifetime. The power of your heart ranges from one to five watts. The largest artery is the aorta, and the heart pumps oxygenated blood through it at the rate of one mile per hour. It only takes eight seconds for blood to go from the heart to the brain and back.
7 Your Heart Has Its Own Electrical Impulse
This is separate from the rest of your body, which means that it keeps beating when it's removed from the body as long as it has oxygen. The force that the heart puts out is sort of hard to imagine. This might put it in perspective: to understand the amount of blood that the human heart pumps in an average lifetime, you'd have to turn a kitchen sink on at full blast... and leave it on for 45 years. Yowsa. Definitely don't try to recreate that visual -- there's a drought going on in California, after all.
6 Heart Transplants Are Pretty Successful
Unfortunately, not everyone who needs a heart transplant will get one, but 87 percent of those in need will be able to survive for at least another year. About 50 percent live for ten years. So no, it's not exactly a perfect science, but it's pretty crazy that the human body can even accept a donor heart. There are some strange heart transplant stories out there, like one where a guy got the heart of a man who had killed himself. The guy ended up marrying the donor's wife... and then ultimately killed himself the same way. Yikes.
5 The Heart Beats For The First Time At Four Weeks Old
Our heart starts beating when we've been hanging out in our mom's womb for about four weeks, and then it kicks into high gear and never stops until death. A kid's heart is about the size of their fist and by the time they're an adult, their heart is the size of an adult fist. A child's heart works just as hard as an adult's heart, but it pumps less blood since they have less and are smaller in general. To get an idea of how hard the heart works when it pumps blood, think about squeezing a tennis ball tightly.
4 Smoking Is Bad For Your Heart
You already know that smoking cigarettes is bad for you, but do you really know how bad? The risk of having a heart attack is 200 to 400 percent higher in smokers than in non-smokers. One-third of first heart attacks are fatal, and another third cause permanent damage, so prevention is really important. Cigarette smoking causes one in five preventable deaths in the U.S., which makes it literally the most preventable cause of death that there is. Smoking damages your blood vessels, blood cells, and heart function.
3 Your Heart Pumps A Ton Of Blood
The heart pumps so much blood to the rest of the body that it could fill 1.5 million barrels of blood over a lifetime, which would be enough to fill 200 train tank cars. The only cells in the body that don't receive blood from the heart are the corneas. All other 75 trillion cells do, and to reach them all, the heart beats about 100,000 times each day. That comes out to 3,600,000 heart beats a year, and 2.5 billion beats over the average life span. Sounds a little tedious but thank goodness it's cool with that.
2 Your Heartbeat Loves Music
If you feel like you become one with music when you're really jamming out, you sort of do. Your heart can actually adjust the pacing of its beats to the tempo of the music that you are listening to. Some researchers even believe that the chills we get from listening to moving music are due to the body's physiological reactions while we listen to music, not just from our mental appreciation of it.
1 There's A Link Between Diner Food And The Heart Stent
Not that you should go eat any diner food. But here's a fun fact: after getting turned down by several companies, the guy who invented the heart stent got backing for his idea from the guy who owns Fuddruckers. They randomly met on a golf course. Whoa. The heart stent is a small mesh tube that functions to physically strengthen a weak artery, which needs to stay strong so that it will remain open and be able keep pumping blood at the proper pace. Talk about a life changing invention and a life changing chance encounter.