As “head coach” of the circulatory/cardiovascular system, the heart pumps blood throughout the body, supplying oxygen and nutrients to tissues. Actually, two circulatory systems work as a “team”: Systemic circulation carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the body and sends deoxygenated blood back to the heart. Pulmonary circulation transports oxygen-poor blood from the heart’s right ventricle to the lungs, where it picks up a new supply of oxygen-rich blood that it carries to the heart’s left atrium (PubMed Health 2018).
According to the Heart Health Institute (2015), you’d need to leave your kitchen faucet on full blast for at least 45 years to match the amount of blood pumped by the heart in an average lifetime. Heart health is high on the list of client goals—and for good reason. Learn more about this miraculous muscular organ:
- The “broken-heart myth” may not be that far-fetched. A breakup or traumatic news (say, the death of a loved one) can spur a heightened risk of heart attack. It can also trigger the release of stress hormones that may temporarily stun the heart, potentially causing heart attack symptoms (Heart Health Institute 2015).
- The heart of a typical athlete “churns out up to 8 gallons of blood per minute” (Arkansas Heart Hospital 2016).
- Heart attacks (also known as myocardial infarctions) most often occur early on a Monday morning in fall or winter (Lefer 2010).
- What’s the earliest known case of heart disease? Scientists have found atherosclerosis in a 3,500-year-old Egyptian mummy (Allam et al. 2011).
- Christmas and New Year’s Day are the two days of the year when heart attacks are most likely to occur (Kloner 2004).
- The heart beats 100,000 times a day and 35 million times a year. During an average lifespan, it will beat more than 3 billion times (Arkansas Heart Hospital 2016).
- Women have smaller hearts than men do and exhibit different signs of a heart attack. Women are more likely to experience shoulder pain, nausea and indigestion rather than the trademark chest pain (Watson 2009).
Allam, A.H., et al. 2011. Atherosclerosis in ancient Egyptian mummies: The Horus study. JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, 4 (4), 315–27.
Arkansas Heart Hospital. 2016. Amazing heart facts. Accessed July 31, 2018:
Heart Health Institute. 2015. Our top ten interesting heart facts. Accessed July 31, 2018: hearthealthinstitute.net/posts-education/our-top-10-interesting-heart-facts/.
Kloner, R.A. 2004. The “Merry Christmas Coronary” and “Happy New Year Heart Attack” phenomenon. Circulation, 110, 3744–45.
Lefer, D.J. 2010. Is there a better time of day to have a heart attack? Circulation Research, 106, 430–31.
PubMed Health. 2018. Pulmonary circulation. Accessed July 31, 2018: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0023061/.
Watson, S. 2009. WebMD.com. Amazing facts about heart health and heart disease. Accessed July 31, 2018: webmd.com/heart/features/amazing-facts-about-heart-health-and-heart-disease_#1.