The heart is more than just what you give your Valentine. It’s an incredible organ that sits at the center of your circulatory process, pumping blood and oxygen through your entire body and allowing all your cells to function as they should. But how much do you really know about your heart? February is American Heart Month, providing an excellent opportunity to better understand your heart and how to keep it healthy.
At Sinai Laser Vein Center, we want our patients to be knowledgeable about their bodies in order to understand, prevent, and detect heart disease, vascular disease, and other cardiovascular difficulties. Here are four facts you may not have known about the human heart:
A Heart Has Many Chambers
If you’ve ever seen the human heart, it’s not exactly shaped like the box of chocolates you expect to receive on Valentine’s day. It’s an organ with a unique shape, which is actually because it’s made up of several different parts. The main parts of the heart are the:
- Atria: The heart is made up of four chambers, two of which are atria. The atria are the first receivers of blood – the right atrium receives oxygen-poor blood and pumps it to the right ventricle, while the left atrium receives oxygen-rich blood and pumps it to the left ventricle.
- Ventricles: Like the atria, each of your heart’s two ventricles pumps the blood they receive to different locations. The right ventricle will pump oxygen-poor blood into the lungs, where it will become oxygen-rich. The left ventricle pumps oxygen-rich blood into the rest of your body, allowing all of your cells to receive the oxygen they need.
- Valves: These are flaps that prevent blood from ever flowing backward as it pumps through your heart and back into your body. Each of your heart’s chambers has its own valve.
A Heavy Heart
Since it’s safely nestled in our body, it’s not often that we gain a proper perspective on what the heart actually looks like. To give you an idea, doctors describe the size of the average human heart as about the size of an adult person’s fist. On average, the human heart weighs less than one pound – however, your gender may have something to do with small discrepancies in size. The average man’s heart is around two ounces heavier than the average woman’s. However, women tend to have a quicker heart rate than men.
Your Heart By Numbers
When describing the size and weight of the heart, we tend to work in small quantities of inches, pounds, and ounces. But when it comes to other heart-related statistics, the numbers can increase by a significant number of figures:
- Each day of your life, your heart will likely beat around 115,000 times every day.
- That same day, your heart will likely pump about 2,000 gallons of blood in total.
- If you laid the entire blood vessel system out in a line, it would stretch out to more than 60,000 miles.
The blood vessel system is so intricate that 60,000 miles of it can fit inside the human body. That’s amazing – even vascular specialists agree!
The beating of your heart is actually caused by that “pumping” action we described earlier – but the rhythm of that heartbeat is regulated by electricity. That electrical system is known as the cardiac conduction system, and it’s responsible for signaling your heart to expand and contract. This is what allows blood to flow smoothly, and if your heart seems to have an irregular rhythm, you may need to visit the doctor for a diagnosis of arrhythmia.
Now that you know more about your heart and circulatory system, it’s time to start thinking about what you can do to better your heart health during American Heart Month and all year round.
Our team at Sinai Laser Vein Center can help guide you in heart-healthy lifestyle choices and address any concerns you may have about your vascular health. Schedule your appointment with the best vascular surgeon NYC has to offer and start 2022 by taking the first step toward healthy veins.