The Zoophanatic: Heart Facts for February
Gina Andrews, Senior Writer & Caponomics Award Winner
__Essentially, all animals have the same lifespan: 2.5 billion heartbeats. However, some animals live for more years than others because they have lower heart rates. Whales, for example, live longer than shrews because a whale’s heart beats more slowly than a shrew’s.
__The blue whale is the largest animal to ever live on Earth, including extinct megafauna. They grow to be 100 feet long and weigh 200 tons, which is equal to 400,000 pounds. A blue whale’s heart weighs as much as a small car, their heartbeat can be heard from two miles away, and a full-grown human can fit through a blue whale artery.
__Rosalie Bradford holds the Guinness World Record for the most weight lost by a woman. At her peak, she weighed 1,199 pounds, and was so heavy that she couldn’t walk. Eventually, she dropped to a weight of less than 300 pounds. On November 29, 2006, Bradford died of heart failure at the age of 63.
__An octopus has many unusual traits. They often have venomous beaks, come in a variety of sizes and colors, and different species have different characteristics. For example, the Dumbo octopus has ear-like fins on the top of its body, the mimic octopus a transparent body. Oh, and octopi have three hearts.
__Boxers (the dog breed) are unfortunately prone to a genetic condition known as Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVC.) In this devastating disease, fat replaces muscle in the heart. Luckily, this disease is quite rare in people.
__Claire Sylvia is perhaps one of the most perplexing cases in the world. Five days after receiving a heart and lung transplant, a reporter asked her what she wanted more than anything else, to which she replied: “To tell you the truth, right now I’d die for a beer.” Sylvia had never liked beer prior to her transplant. When she was recovered enough to drive, she visited Kentucky Fried Chicken- another place she hadn’t previously liked. She began to dream about a man named “Tim L.” After doing a background check, she learned that her donor’s name was, in fact, Tim L. In other similar cases, a man who had a heart transplant married the same woman that the donor married, and wound up committing suicide- just like the donor had. A little girl received the heart of a child that had been murdered, and the justice system was able to track down the murderer because of the girl’s detailed, precise description from recurring nightmares.
__Each pound of fat in your body adds seven miles of blood vessels. They add up quickly- if you are ten pounds overweight, that equates to seventy additional miles of blood vessels that your heart must pump through, which is why obesity is a contributing factor to heart disease.