This amazing organ’s structure makes it an efficient, never-ceasing pump, providing the power needed to sustain life. Shaped more like an upside-down pear, the average adult heart is about the size of a clenched fist and weighs less than a pound. Located a little to the left of the center of your chest, and between your lungs, the heart rests on the diaphragm, a tough layer of muscle, and is enclosed in its own little sac which is surrounded by the ribcage, serving to protect the heart.
From the moment the human heart begins beating at development until the moment it ceases, it is a tireless, pumping machine. Since it never pauses to rest, the heart has to be strong.
The average human heart contracts and relaxes by about 70 to 80 times per minute or about 100,000 times each day, pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood per day. As the heart’s muscle contracts, it pushes blood through the chambers and into the vessels. With each beat, the heart pumps blood that delivers life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients to the organs, tissues and cells of your body to sustain life and remove carbon dioxide and waste products generated by those cells. In a 70-year lifetime, the heart beats more than 2.5 billion times, without ever pausing to rest. Nerves connected to the heart regulate the rate with which the muscle contracts. Exercise, emotions and medication, can cause your heart to beat faster or to pump more quickly. When you are at rest or asleep, your heart pumps more slowly.
As the heart beats, it pumps blood to every part of the body through a system of elastic, muscular tubes or blood vessels, called the circulatory system. The circulatory system is a network of blood vessels through which blood flows as it carries oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. It includes the heart, lungs, arteries, arterioles (small arteries) and capillaries (minute blood vessels that connect the arteries and the veins), venules (small veins) and veins. Oxygen-rich blood is carried from the heart throughout the rest of the body via the complex network of arteries, arterioles and capillaries. The veins carry back the blood back to the heart.
If you further explore health facts on the heart, you will discover the complexities of its development and structure. More important however, is to learn to have a healthy heart and how to monitor your heart’s health. Practical ways to achieve a healthy heart is simply by following this prescription:
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat heart-healthy foods or a balanced health diet for heart.
- Keep away from tobacco and drugs.