How well do you know your heart?

Thursday, October 09, 2014

How well do you know the workings of the heart? Do you know how much blood it pumps around the body, how many times it beats a minute or that laughter really is the best medicine? We take a closer a look.

The numbers

The heart pumps around 70 beats per minute, adding up to 100,000 times each day - circulating the equivalent of 2.000 gallons of blood throughout your body.

This blood travels around 60,000 miles through your nerves and blood vessels. To equal that amount of liquid passed through the heart each day, you'd have to leave a tap running for about 45 years.


On average, a human heart begins beating around four weeks after conception - and doesn't stop until death.

In a resting adult it takes the heart three seconds to pump blood to the lungs, four seconds to reach the brain, and just 16 seconds to reach the toes and back.

Heart health is linked to mood

It's been found that statistically, those suffering from depression or low moods are at a higher risk of heart disease, while for people who live alone the chance is almost double that of the average.

Stress is also a huge factor. Unsurprisingly, Mondays are the most common day for people to suffer heart attacks, and other high-frequency days include Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

In contrast, laughter is thought to be hugely helpful for the heart, increasing blood flow and relaxing the lining of the blood vessels.

Heart attacks differ between men and women

We commonly see men in heart attack awareness campaigns feeling the well-known symptoms of heart attack - pain in the chest and arms are among the most recognisable.

However, it's important to note that women are likely to suffer a different set of symptoms, including shoulder aches, nausea and indigestion. This isn't widely mentioned in campaigns but it's worth knowing!

The heart is independent

The heart has its own electrical impulse, which it uses to keep pumping blood around the body.

Because of this, the heart will continue to beat outside the body as long as it has enough oxygen.

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