10 facts you didn't know about the heart

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It is exactly 47 years ago today, December 3, since Dr. Christiaan Barnard pioneered the world's first heart transplant in an operation that lasted nine hours long at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.

So pump up your knowledge with these 10 facts:

1) Dr. Barnard's second transplant caused an uproar because he transplanted the heart from a black man into a 58 year old white man.

2) After a heart transplant, you must take drugs for the rest of your life to prevent transplant rejection.

3) The ‘thump-thump’ of a heartbeat is the sound made by the four valves of the heart closing.

4) Your blue Monday can lead to a heart attack! Yes, you're more likely to have a heart attack on Monday morning when levels of a stress hormone called cortisol peak. This can result in cholesterol plaque that has built up in the arteries to rupture and block the flow of blood to the heart.

5) Have sex! Having an active sex life is good for the heart especially for men. Having an orgasm three or four times a week might offer potent protection against a heart attack, a British study has found.

6) Your heart creates enough energy to drive a truck for 20 miles (32 km).

7) The heart will gradually enlarge to cope with the workload if it does not  pump efficiently.

8) Your heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times in your lifetime.

9) A human heart pumps between five and seven litres of blood through a body weighing an average of 70kg.

10) One of the symptoms of a heart attack include the sudden urge to have a bowel action.

Sources: Health24, The Heart and Stroke Foundation SA, Health Central, MedlinePlus, WebMD, Mercola.com, Wonderpediamagazine.co.uk

Also read:

Fainting could be a sign of heart trouble
Childhood obesity brings future health problems
Top 10 heart-smart foods

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