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heart facts

Published: Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 11:18 a.m. CDT

The heart is one of the essential components of human life. It was once also believed to be the center from where love and other emotions emanated. Many feel a heart can break and that it can know no bounds of love. Dr. Seuss’ “The Grinch” was said to be nasty because his heart was “two sizes too small.”

Not only does today mark Valentine’s Day, a holiday synonymous with the loving symbol, but February is also American Heart Month as designated by the Center for Disease Control. Although there is mystery surrounding matters of the heart, there is much known about the physical makeup of the human heart. Here are seven facts about the human heart.

1. Heart attacks and heart disease may be viewed as an illness that primarly affects men. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, women have more cases of heart-related illnesses than men, and heart disease kills 500,000 American women, which is 50,000 more women than men.

2. A bigger heart isn’t necessarily a sign that a person is more inclined toward love. An enlarged heart is actually a medical condition, which can lead to heart failure.

3. A hearty laugh is good for the heart. This laugh attack can actually cause the lining of blood vessels to relax, enabling more blood to flow through for at least 45 minutes afterward.

4. Romantic endeavors in the bedroom can be as good for the heart as a brisk 15-minute walk. Intimate acts can burn up to 200 calories and be the cardiovascular exercise a person needs.

5. A glass of wine can be good for the heart because of the antioxidant properties contained in grapes. Alcohol can also thin the blood, enabling better flow. Just be sure to stick to one or two drinks per day. Over-indulgence won’t make the heart healthier.

6. The heart is a fist-sized muscle that can beat an average of 100,000 times every day. In under a minute the heart can deliver oxygen-rich blood to every cell in the body.

7. A woman’s heart beats faster than a man’s. In some cases doctors are able to predict the gender of a fetus by the baby’s heart rate.

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