Let’s kick it off Heart Month with some fun facts about the muscle that’s the size of your fist.
- The heart is one of the first organs to develop in babies. We can see beating heart cells as early as four weeks.
- When you listen to someone’s heartbeat, what you are actually hearing are the flap-like ends of valves, called leaflets, closing and opening.
- Though a normal heart is only about the size of a fist, a heart valve is the size of a half dollar.
- Try to imagine 2,000 gallons of water lined up in a row. That’s about how much blood our heart pumps every single day. This process pushes blood through our system of vessels that is over 60,000 miles long!
- The corneas in our eyes are the only part of the body that don’t receive blood from our hearts because they don’t have blood vessels.
It’s amazing how such a small organ is so crucial to our survival. Most of us don’t even think about or feel our heart beating throughout the day. This is why it is one of the most important organs to take care of.
Though heart disease may run in your family, the good news is that genetics only plays a small role in determining our risk. The more influential factors are those we have the ability to change.
With a heart-healthy diet, regular physical activity, stress management and no tobacco use, we can prevent heart disease genes from becoming active. For those who may already have heart disease, those lifestyle measures can reduce the activity of heart disease genes, and potentially even turn them “off.”
For more information on preventing heart disease, visit the Joe R. Utley Heart Resource Center in the lobby of the Heart Center, or call 864-560-4472.