5 facts about your heart that may surprise you

January 21, 2020 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Hearts

Pumping more than 100,000 times a day, your heart is the hardest working muscle you have.

Though not the largest — it’s the size of your two fists clasped together — it is a workhorse, pumping about 1.5 gallons of blood each minute. With each beat, your heart sends oxygen rich blood throughout your body.

Heart disease, however, remains a leading cause of death. On average, cardiovascular disease claims one life every 37 seconds in the United States.

That’s why it’s important to know how your heart works and what you can do to keep it healthy.

Here are five facts about your heart that might surprise you:

  • An inactive lifestyle puts you at higher risk for heart disease than if you smoked. Regular exercise is important to keep your heart in good health. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate level intensity exercise each week.
  • If you sit at your desk most of your workday or are in your car a lot, you run a higher risk for heart disease. One study of 30,000 people in 52 countries found that people who owned both a car and a television had a 27 percent higher risk for heart disease than those who didn’t own a car and TV. Researchers cautioned that simply owning a car or TV were not risk factors, but rather the inactivity of those participants. While it’s OK to drive to work or tune in for that football game, make sure you are getting enough activity throughout your day.
  • Gratitude can help improve your health. It’s easy to focus on the negative, but that comes with a cost — like depression, a weakened immune system, inflammation and stress — all of which can affect your heart. Try practicing gratitude and taking time throughout your day to appreciate a moment, a meal or an activity then journal about it at the end of the day.
  • By the age of 80, you have a 60 percent chance of developing high blood pressure. Often called the “silent killer,” high blood pressure has no obvious signs or symptoms. That’s why it’s important to have regular checkups and know your numbers. Normal blood pressure numbers are less than 120 for systolic (the top number) and less than 80 for diastolic (the bottom number).
  • Your arteries — the highway used to carry oxygen rich blood throughout your body — are only 4 millimeters in diameter. At that size, it’s easy to see how plaque could build up in your arteries. To help keep those arteries clear, limit fatty, greasy foods. Clogged arteries can cause blockage that prevents blood from flowing and can cause a heart attack. Recent studies have shown following a Mediterranean diet — one that includes lots of fruits and vegetables, healthy oils and keeps dairy, eggs, fish and poultry to moderate amounts — can be beneficial to your heart health.

Find out your risk for heart and vascular disease with a five-minute HeartAware assessment.

At the Cardiac Innovations & Structural Heart Center®, we’re committed to providing the highest quality care possible. Find out why for us, this is personal.

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