February is the month we think about valentines, Cupid, and candy hearts, but on a more serious note, it’s also American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.
The heart is part of your body’s circulatory system. It’s made up of the atria, ventricles, valves, and various arteries and veins. The main function of your heart is to keep blood that’s full of oxygen circulating throughout your body. Because your heart is crucial to your survival, it’s important to keep it healthy with a well-balanced diet and exercise, and avoid things that can damage it, like smoking.
Want to know more about this awesome organ?
- The average heart is the size of a fist in an adult.
- Your heart will beat about 115,000 times each day.
- Your heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood every day.
- The first open-heart surgery occurred in 1893. It was performed by Daniel Hale Williams, who was one of the few black cardiologists in the United States at the time.
- The first implantable pacemaker was used in 1958. Arne Larsson, who received the pacemaker, lived longer than the surgeon who implanted it. Larsson died at 86 of a disease that was unrelated to his heart.
- The earliest known case of heart disease was identified in the remains of a 3,500-year-old Egyptian mummy.
- The fairy fly, which is a kind of wasp, has the smallest heart of any living creature.
- Whales have the largest heart of any mammal.
- The giraffe has a lopsided heart, with their left ventricle being thicker than the right. This is because the left side has to get blood up the giraffe’s long neck to reach their brain.
- Most heart attacks happen on Monday.
- Christmas is the most common day of the year for heart attacks to happen.
- The human heart weighs less than one pound. However, a man’s heart, on average, is two ounces heavier than a woman’s heart.
- A woman’s heart beats slightly faster than a man’s heart.
- The beating sound of your heart is caused by the valves of the heart opening and closing.
- It’s possible to have a broken heart. It’s called broken heart syndrome and can have similar symptoms as a heart attack. The difference is that a heart attack is from heart disease and broken heart syndrome is by a rush of stress hormones from an emotional or physical stress event. Death from a broken heart is possible but extremely rare.
- If you were to stretch out your blood vessel system, it would extend over 60,000 miles.
- Heart cells stop dividing, which means heart cancer is extremely rare.
- Laughing is good for your heart. It reduces stress and gives a boost to your immune system.
Read the fun Fuddlebrook story, Freddie Plays a Joke, to learn more. Then, watch our video that shows a heart model of a healthy and unhealthy heart, a model of a pumping heart, and a tasty treat from our sister series, The Quirkles®, entitled Yawning Yolanda’s Blood Candy, that demonstrates the four components of blood.
Here’s to a great and heart healthy February!