August 21, 2023/Heart Health

30 Facts About Your Heart

Your life depends on this incredible organ doing its job 24/7

Illustration of a heart in a human chest

As you go through your day, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about your heart and all that it’s doing. But let’s take a few moments to appreciate this life-sustaining organ in your chest.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Your heart starts beating well before you’re born and continues its rhythmic work until the day you die. That’s just the start (and end) of its amazing story, though.

Here are a few more heart-related facts, courtesy of cardiologist Brian Griffin, MD.

  1. Your heart beats about 100,000 times per day. During the average person’s lifetime, their heart beats more than 2.6 billion times. (Your pulse is a way you can feel your heart beating.)
  2. The beating sound from your heart — lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub — is from the clap of valve leaflets opening and closing.
  3. A typical human heart valve is about the size of a half dollar.
  4. Each minute, your heart pumps nearly 1.5 gallons (5.7 liters) of blood. That’s a pump flow rate that could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in less than a year. (Talk about a gold medal effort!)
  5. Your adult-sized heart is about the size of two hands clasped together. A child’s heart is about the size of a single fist.
  6. Location is everything in life, right? That’s true for your heart, too. It’s located in the front of your chest, slightly behind and to the left of your breastbone. Your ribs offer extra protection for the vital organ.
  7. To make room for your heart, your left lung is slightly smaller than your right lung.
  8. Your heart weighs somewhere between 7 ounces and 15 ounces (200 grams to 425 grams), or less than a pound. The average male’s heart weighs 2 ounces (57 grams) more than the average female’s heart.
  9. For comparison’s sake, a blue whale — the world’s largest animal — has a heart weighing more than 1,000 pounds. A person could easily crawl through the aorta in that sized heart.
  10. The smallest animal heart can be found in fairyflies. You’d need a microscope to see the ticker in this tiny insect.
  11. Your heart works as a coordinated machine. The right side of your heart pumps “used” blood from your body into your lungs, where it refills with oxygen. The left side of your heart then pumps re-oxygenated blood back into your body.
  12. Almost every cell in your body gets blood from your heart. The outliers can be found in the corneas of your eyes.
  13. Your heart pumps blood through about 60,000 miles (96,000 kilometers) of blood vessels. To put that in perspective, this blood tubing system could circle the Earth at the equator TWICE.
  14. A female’s average heartbeat is faster than a male’s by almost eight beats a minute. The reason? Because their hearts are usually smaller in size, females need their hearts to beat more to pump the same amount of blood.
  15. A typical heart pumps approximately 4 tablespoons of blood with each beat.
  16. Your heart has its own electrical supply and will continue to beat even when separated from your body. This specialized network of cells is known as the heart’s electrical conduction system.


  1. Heart disease is the greatest single threat to your health and the leading cause of death globally. The good news? You can help manage your heart health through dietary choices, regular exercise and stress management.
  2. It’s true that some heart problems can be inherited. It’s also true that you can minimize their impact by managing blood pressure and cholesterol through a heart-healthy lifestyle. (See #15.)
  3. Runners have a 45% lower risk of heart disease or stroke.
  4. Cardiac health is an age-old issue, as evidence of heart disease has been found in 3,000-year-old mummies.
  5. Research shows that Monday — the start of the traditional work week — is the most common day of the week to experience a heart attack. It’s a phenomenon known as the “Blue Monday” effect.
  6. The holiday season is also heart attack season. More cardiac deaths occur on December 25 than any other day of the year. The second and third-deadliest days are December 26 and January 1.
  7. A joke a day may help keep the heart doctor away, as laughing can improve heart health by lowering stress and relaxing blood vessels. Happiness can lower your risk of heart disease, too.
  8. Why does the heart symbolize love? Probably because of the pitter-patter you feel in your chest when Cupid’s arrow strikes. (But in truth, your brain controls love — but that would make for a lousy Valentine’s Day symbol.)
  9. Despite your heart not being part of making a love connection, it can still be broken when relationships take a bad turn. An emotionally driven condition known as “broken heart syndrome” can temporarily weaken your heart muscle.
  10. Heart cancer is very rare because heart cells stop dividing in adulthood, making them more resistant to the sort of mutations that can lead to cancer.
  11. Modesty prompted the invention of the stethoscope, that iconic medical tool that healthcare providers use to listen to your heart. Before it existed, doctors had to press an ear directly to the chest of their patient.
  12. The world’s first “stopped-heart” surgery took place at Cleveland Clinic in 1956. Today, this type of surgery — which uses a machine to pump blood throughout the body while the heart is stopped during an operation — is commonplace.
  13. A cardiac surgeon at Cleveland Clinic pioneered coronary artery bypass surgery in the late 1960s. The surgery restores blood flow to areas of the heart using blood vessels transplanted from other parts of the body.
  14. Each year, more than 2 million people around the world have open-heart surgery to address various heart conditions.


Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Hand holding cellphone with walking app, with feet walking and footprints
May 17, 2024/Exercise & Fitness
Should You Aim To Walk 10,000 Steps a Day?

Walking is a great goal, but how many steps are best for you depends on factors like your fitness level and age

Heart-healthy foods in a heart-shaped dish on wooden table with other heart-shaped filled bowls
April 26, 2024/Nutrition
Heart-Healthy Foods To Add to Your Grocery List

Eating more natural, whole foods can lower your risk of heart and cardiovascular diseases

Person having a heart attack in background, close up of hand calling 911 on cell phone in foreground
February 28, 2024/Heart Health
Can You Stop a Heart Attack Once It Starts?

There’s no way to stop it once a heart attack is happening, but the most important thing you can do is to call for help

Person enjoying container of assorted fruit
February 28, 2024/Heart Health
How To Protect Your Heart When You Have Prediabetes

You can counter the risk of prediabetes-related heart attack or stroke by eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as well as exercising regularly

Person taking heart health quiz on a clipboard
February 26, 2024/Heart Health
How Healthy Is Your Heart? Take This Quiz To Find Out

Age, sex and genetics are just a few factors that can affect your risk of developing coronary heart disease

Cholesterol blocking blood flow in artery
February 26, 2024/Heart Health
What It Means if You Have ‘Sticky’ Cholesterol

LDL cholesterol and lipoprotein (a) cholesterol are more likely to stick to your arteries and lead to dangerous heart events

Doctor shaking hands with patient, with large heart and EKG line behind them
February 19, 2024/Heart Health
How Weight Affects Your Heart

Having underweight, having overweight and having obesity can be dangerous for your heart

Close up of hands holding heart rate wearable watch monitor and their phone
February 12, 2024/Exercise & Fitness
Next Time You Exercise, Consider Wearing a Heart Rate Monitor

This technology can benefit your workouts by helping you hit your target heart rate, resulting in better overall health and wellness

Trending Topics

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

woman snacking on raisins and nuts
52 Foods High In Iron

Pump up your iron intake with foods like tuna, tofu and turkey