Dictionary 43. A Healthy Heart

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Smaller than your fist, your muscular heart just goes on and on. It will beat more than 60 times a minute for 70 years or more. That's something that most of us take for granted. But it's an amazing fact.

Sixty times a minute for 60 minutes is 3,600 times. What physical thing can most of us do 3,600 times in one hour? Blink? Maybe. Tap our fingers on the desk? Nope. Jump up and down? Certainly not! But our heart keeps beating, hour after hour. Every day, it pumps almost 2,000 gallons of blood through our blood vessels. It takes you about five years to drink 2,000 gallons of water.

And, unlike your knees or your back, your heart does all this work without ever complaining! You never know that it's even there. Your heart is such a reliable "silent partner" that people forget to care for it. For many, the first indication that their heart isn't functioning properly is a fatal heart attack! Over 650,000 Americans die annually of some kind of heart disease. Cancer kills 560,000, stroke kills 143,000, and accidents kill 118,000 Americans annually.

Like accidental deaths, many heart disease-related deaths can be avoided if people simply follow the advice of the experts. Unfortunately, most people seem to listen to a little voice in their head that says, "It won't happen to me." So these people keep on smoking and drinking. They continue to eat too much meat. And their only "exercise" is getting off the sofa to get something out of the refrigerator.


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