Amazing facts about the human heart
Every Valentine’s Day homes and
businesses dress up their decor
with cupids and hearts to celebrate
a day all about love and affection.
The heart shape has been used
to symbolically represent the human
heart as the center of emotion and romantic
love. Hearts symbolizing love
can be traced back to the Middle Ages.
Those familiar with human anatomy
realize that an actual heart bares
very little resemblance to the ideographic
heart shape used in art and
imagery. Similarly, the human heart
really has nothing to do with human
emotions. Despite this, there are many
interesting components of the heart,
and a man or woman truly cannot love
or live without one.
The heart as an organ is relatively
small in size. It is roughly the size of
a fist and weighs only 11 ounces on average.
Although diminutive, the heart
is responsible for pumping 2,000 gallons
of blood through 60,000 miles of
blood vessels each day. It accomplishes
this by beating 72 times a minute in
a healthy adult. All of the cells in the
body receive blood except for the corneas
in the eye.
The heart works harder than any
other muscle in the body. In a fetus,
it begins beating at four weeks after
conception and will not stop until a
person’s time of death. Even then,
sometimes the heart can be revived. A
heart can also continue to beat outside
of the body provided it has an adequate
New York State
is proud to announce the
as Executive Director.
Pat worked in the cardiac operating room at Staten Island University Hospital (now
SIUH/Northwell Health) and served as NYSNA Treasurer. We are very fortunate to
now have her leadership.
TIMESLEDGER | QNS.12 COM | FEB. 7-FEB. 13, 2020
Although many people refer to all
of the blood vessels in their body as
“veins,” they’re actually a combination
of veins and arteries. Veins carry
fresh, oxygenated blood to the body
through arteries. The main artery leaving
the left heart ventricle is called the
aorta, while the main artery leaving
the right ventricle is known as the pulmonary
artery. Blood traveling back
to the heart flows through veins after
it has passed the lungs to pick up oxygen.
The thumping noise that is heard
while the heart is beating is actually
the chambers of the heart closing and
opening as blood flows through.
While the heart may not be the cornerstone
of emotions, it can be affected
by feelings. Studies have shown that a
“broken heart” is a real occurrence,
according to Live Science. Bad news
or a breakup with a loved one can put
a person at increased risk for heart
attack. This type of trauma releases
stress hormones into the body that can
stun the heart. Chest pain and shortness
of breath ensue but can be remedied
after some rest.
Conversely, laughter and positive
feelings can be beneficial for the heart.
Research has shown that a good laughing
fit can cause the lining of the blood
vessel walls — called the endothelium
— to relax. This helps increase blood
flow for up to 45 minutes afterward.
Although having a big heart colloquially
means that a person is loving
and goes out of his way for others,
physically speaking, a big heart is unhealthy.
An enlarged heart can be a
sign of heart disease and compromise
the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively.
Left untreated, it can lead to
There is good reason to get amorous
with a loved one on Valentine’s
Day or other times during the month.
Being intimate can provide a physical
workout, in some instances doubling a
person’s heart rate and burning up to
200 calories. That’s the equivalent of a
brisk 15-minute run. Also, a study of
2,500 men aged 49 to 54 found having an
orgasm at least three times a week can
cut the likelihood of death from coronary
disease in half, according to The
New England Journal of Medicine.
The heart is an amazing organ responsible
for sustaining life. Although
it is not directly tied to love and emotions,
without the heart such feelings
wouldn’t be possible.
NATIONAL WEAR RED DAY
Pat Kane, RN,