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10 Things You Might Not Know About Your Heart

March 1, 2024

Smiling woman making heart hands

Your heart continually circulates blood throughout your body — an involuntary process that you never have to think about. But Susan Phung, MD, a cardiologist at Atlantic Health System, shares a few facts about your heart that just might make you stop and think about this hard-working, reliable muscle.

1. A human heart weighs between seven and 15 ounces. A man’s heart weighs about 10 ounces, a woman’s weighs about eight ounces.

2. Sneezing does not make your heart stop or skip a beat. However, a powerful sneeze can momentarily affect your heart’s regular rhythm.

3. Each day, your heart beats around 100,000 times, pumping nearly 2,000 gallons of blood throughout your body within a 24-hour period.

4. A newborn baby’s heart beats faster than adults. It paces at about 70 to 190 beats per minute, as compared with an average healthy adult’s resting heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute.

5. A “broken heart” can mimic the signs of a heart attack, causing chest pain and shortness of breath.

6. The amount of blood that travels through your body each day covers about 12,000 miles, four times the size of the U.S. from coast to coast.

7. Although there are some theories, no one really knows why the heart is the symbol of love.

8. Most heart attacks occur on Monday mornings. Stress hormones are highest in the morning and can trigger a rise in blood pressure and increased heart rate.

9. Laughing is good for your heart. It relaxes the blood vessels, allowing 20% more blood to travel through your body.

10. Some of your capillaries are ten times thinner than a human hair, narrow enough that blood cells must travel through in single file.

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