Is it possible that of all the muscles in our bodies, the heart is the most underestimated or underappreciated? It’s not as flashy as the toned bicep of a bodybuilder or as solid as the flexed calf muscle of a cyclist, but the little pump, only about the size of your fist, pushes oxygen and nutrients to each of your body’s cells to support vital life functions, every day of your life.
Check out the round up below of 10 interesting facts about your body’s most important muscle: the heart.
A mighty pump
1. Even though the average heart only weighs about 11 ounces (or about .5 percent of your total body weight), every day a healthy heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood.
2. Your heart pumps blood to almost all of your body’s 75 trillion cells. The only part of the body that doesn’t have blood vessels is the cornea, according to the National Eye Institute. The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye, which gets oxygen from the air.
A kitchen faucet would need to be turned on all the way for at least 45 years to equal the amount of blood pumped by the heart in an average lifetime.
3. According to an oft-cited textbook, "The Circulatory System" by Regina Avraham, a kitchen faucet would need to be turned on all the way for at least 45 years to equal the amount of blood pumped by the heart in an average lifetime.
4. The average adult human has about 4 to 5 quarts of blood the heart pumps to all the tissues and to and from the lungs in about one minute while beating 75 times.
5. People who live at high altitudes may have up to 2 liters of extra blood compared to those who live at lower altitudes, according to Wonderopolis. Why? There is less oxygen in the air at higher altitudes, so people need extra blood to transport the right amount of oxygen to their lungs.
Feel the beat
6. Your heartbeat is one of your most constant companions in life. According to the American Hear Association, the average heart beats (expands and contracts) about 72 times a minute, 100,000 times a day and 3,600,000 times a year. In an average lifetime, the human heart beats more than 2.5 billion times.
7. As your heart beats, it pumps blood through a system of blood vessels, including arteries, veins and capillaries. This vast system is more than 60,000 miles long, enough to go around the world more than twice.
8. Are you female? Your heart probably beats faster than your husband, son or boyfriend. According to Livestrong, a woman’s average resting heart rate is 78-82 beats per minute compared to a man’s average 70-72 beats per minute.
9. A baby’s heart begins to form just weeks after conception and, according to the American Pregnancy Association, is already beating by Week 4 or Week 5.
10. The fetal heart rate is fast, about twice as fast as an adult’s, at about 120-160 beats per minute. According to "The InVision Guide to a Healthy Heart," at just 12 weeks, a fetus’ heart pumps 60 pints of blood a day. Once a baby is born, it will have about 1 cup of blood total in circulation.
Since first declared American Heart Month by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, February has been a time for the young and old to focus on heart health awareness. Did you know that, according to the American Heart Association, about 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of one death every 38 seconds?
Worldwide, cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading global cause of death with more than 17.9 million deaths each year. The goal of American Heart Month is to improve national heart health by educating people on the changes they can make to their diet and lifestyle to lower risk of heart disease.
Interested in improving your heart health?
Visit a doctor to learn about lifestyle changes and treatments to prevent, alleviate and eliminate cardiovascular disease. MountainStar hospitals have been recognized nationally for their heart care, with heart specialists and multidisciplinary teams on hand to offer personalized, effective and timely treatments for heart conditions and others. Call 855-413-7829 for an appointment or visit MountainStar.com for more information.