If seeing the one you love makes your heart skip a beat, should you see a cardiologist?
Sometimes love makes your heart go pitter-pat. But other times that funny feeling in your chest can be from something else.
I’m Dr. David Sherman, and this is a special cardiology edition of Scientific American’s 60-Second Science. Got a minute?
A normal heart beats 60 to 100 beats a minute. It beats on average 100,000 beats a day and about three billion times in a person’s lifetime—faster when you run or get excited and slower when you are at rest.
An arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm. It could be too fast, too slow or uneven.
The heart is the size of a clenched fist.
This is a really beautiful model of a heart that’s around three times the regular size.
The heart has four chambers. This is the right atrium, the right ventricle, the left atrium and the left ventricle. The blood gathers into the right and the left atria, flows through the valves, into the respective ventricles. The blood is pumped from the right ventricle into the lungs, and from the left ventricle into the aorta and then to the entire body.
The electrical impulse of the heart starts here in the right atrium in the sinoatrial node.
This is an echocardiogram machine, which takes digital images of the heart. Each heartbeat represents a sudden squeeze of the ventricles, with both happening at the same time—the right ventricle and the left ventricle. Squeeze! Squeeze!
The heart is a muscle that runs on electricity. The electrical impulse starts in the sinoatrial node, spreads across the atrium, through the AV node, which separates the atrium and the ventricles, and then divides into a bundle that supplies the right ventricle and a bundle that supplies the left ventricle. This normal, orderly sequence of electrical activity insures that the heart muscle works as efficiently as possible.
So is it ever normal for your heart to skip a beat?
If your heart beats 100,000 times a day, it’s not surprising that some of those beats may not be perfect.
So as long as your heart’s anatomy is normal, the heart irregularities are rare and the arrhythmias are not dangerous, it’s probably normal.
Maybe even better than normal!
Thanks for the minute! For Scientific American, I’m Dr. David Sherman.
[The above text is a transcript of this video.]
Presenter: Dr. David Sherman
Writer/Director: Eliene Augenbraun
Producers/Videographers: Eliene Augenbraun, Benjamin Meyers, Lydia Chain
Stock Images: ©iStock.com