Cardiovascular Disease / Evidence

I Heart Fun Physiology Facts

Picture taken from www.wallpoper.comIt’s spring party time. Backyard barbecues, drinks on the porch, work or school gatherings. Inevitably, the conversation lags, and you need something to stimulate a new topic of discourse. Nothing picks up a mundane interaction more quickly than an interesting fact about the human heart. Today, then, I bring you Fun Cardiovascular Physiology Facts, courtesy of Loe and Edwards, Cardiovascular Pathology 2004.

  • Each day, the heart pumps 100,000 times. In 1 year, the heart beats approximately 37 million times. In a 70-year lifetime, the heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times.
  • In adults, the heart weighs less than 0.50% (or about 1/200th) of one’s total body weight.
  • Heart size is directly proportional to body size, but heart rate is inversely proportional to body size. This is true for humans and animals. The heart of a blue whale is the size of a compact car and beats 5–6 times/min in shallow water but only 3–4 times/min during deep dives. The heart rate of an elephant is 30 beats/min (bpm), and that of a shrew is 1000 bpm. Among birds, the blue-throated hummingbird has a heart rate of 1260 bpm during flight but only 36 bpm during torpor (nighttime cooling), when its body temperature drops by as much as 20°C (35°F).
  •  The normal resting heart rate is lowest in the morning and highest in the early afternoon, and the lowest recorded resting heart rate is 28 bpm (Miguel Induráin, Spanish cyclist).
  •  At rest, the heart pumps more than 1 L (more than 1 quart) every 10 s, or about 5 L (about 5 quarts) of blood per minute. During the third trimester of pregnancy, the heart pumps 7–9 L/min, and at peak exertion, the heart can pump 20–35 L/min.
  • In 1 day, the heart exerts enough power to lift a 1-ton weight 12.5 m (41 ft).  In a 70-year lifetime, the heart will pump about 200 million L (more than 1 million barrels) of blood, or enough to fill three super tankers.
  • The blood vessels (arteries, capillaries, and veins), laid end-to-end, would measure about 100,000 km (60,000 miles), or approximately 2.5 times the circumference of the earth.
  • Tissue the size of a pinhead contains 2000 to 3000 capillaries.
  • Every day, red blood cells travel approximately 19,000 km (12,000 miles) or about four times the distance from New York to Los Angeles.
  • Stacked atop one another, the body’s red blood cells would span 50,000 km (30,000 miles).
  • Cardiovascular disease has been the number one killer every year since 1900, except 1918 (the year of the influenza epidemic).
  • The longest reported cardiac arrest before beginning successful resuscitation is 4 h (in a Norwegian hypothermia victim).
  • In virtually every language, the word “heart” has been used to denote not only the anatomical organ but also our emotions.

Still not feeling party ready? I guarantee, this video will complete your party prepartion. You can thank me later.


3 thoughts on “I Heart Fun Physiology Facts

  1. Wow!! amazing facts..!!
    I’ve read that an average man’s heart weighs 10-12oz; an average woman’s heart weighs 8-10oz. see men have bigger heart to love!! 😛
    btw thanks for sharing these amazing facts!

  2. Pingback: All You Need Is Love

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