We are continuing our journey into the world of wellness. As we mentioned in the previous article on the human body, our organism consists of 11 main organ systems. These organ systems are like parts of a factory line - each part is busy with its specific actions and goals but ultimately they all come together to sustain the final product, a human body. Below we will dive into some of the organ systems individually to explore exactly what they do to keep us living and feeling well.
The Circulatory System
This vital organ system consists of a few major components: blood, blood vessels, and the heart. The heart is the pump to our body. It steadily contracts and relaxes about 60 times each minute, filling with blood and pushing it out to be delivered throughout our body. It’s like a bus terminal which keeps receiving buses and sending them off to start the route again. The buses, in this case, are your blood which carries the most important passengers: oxygen and carbon dioxide. The buses take different routes when traveling from the heart versus to the heart. The roads that carry the buses to the heart are called veins and the roads that direct the buses away from the heart are called arteries. In between each artery and vein there are bus stops (which are equivalent to thin webs of blood vessels called capillaries). This is where the passenger oxygen tends to get off the bus and enter the surrounding cells, while carbon dioxide boards the bus to then be delivered out of your body. The blood that our heart pumps also carries nutrients, waste products, and white blood cells (which serve as miniature security guards who recognize and attack any impending threats or foreign substances).
The Respiratory System
This ventilation system is what allows us to breathe in and out, to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. The main organ of this system, our lungs, serves as two inflatable balloons with a mesh of blood vessels around them. When the balloons inflate, the oxygen enters and squeezes past the balloon fabric and into the surrounding blood vessels. Meanwhile the carbon dioxide exits the vessels and enters the balloons (only to then be expelled out of the body).
The Digestive System
Digestion is important because our bodies need nutrients from food and drink to work properly and stay healthy. Our digestive system breaks nutrients into parts small enough for our body to absorb and use for energy, growth, and cell repair. This system consists of many significant organs. The stomach, for starters, serves as a shredder. A bolus of food (chewed up food mixed with salivary secretions) enters the stomach and the stomach begins to break it down by releasing chemicals (enzymes) and by physically contracting and relaxing to further mush up the food. The food then enters a long narrow tube called the small intestine. The small intestine has two friendly neighbors: the liver and the gallbladder. The liver has many filtration functions (it often metabolizes/ breaks down drugs and toxins), but it also creates a green liquidy substance called bile (a solution that helps digest fats). The liver delivers the bile to the gallbladder and the gallbladder keeps it stored until fatty foods enter the small intestine. When fatty food enters the small intestine, it calls on its friendly neighbor, the gallbladder, and asks for the delivery of bile. Once the fat is broken down, the small intestine absorbs the nutrients and lets it flow into our blood to later be delivered to cells around the body. The rest of our food intake gets eliminated.
The Urinary System
The urinary system acts like a filtration drain. It filters the blood and maintains all the ions, minerals, nutrients, and amount of fluids we need at the moment while ridding us of the waste, toxins, and excess fluids which we don’t. This filtration drain exists in our kidneys(which are closely intertwined with certain blood vessels). The waste that is filtered out is later excreted as urine.
The Integumentary System
This system consists of skin, hair, and nails. They act as a protective barrier to the inside of our body. Skin also helps regulate our body temperature and get rid of toxins through evaporation.
The Nervous System
This consists of the brain (the control switch board of our body), the spinal cord, and body neurons (nerve cells). The brain produces hormones, senses stimuli, and sends commands to the rest of the body.
Each of these organs must function within the appropriate narrow range in order to keep our bodies in homeostasis (a state of balance and equilibrium). Even a slight disturbance in the function of these organs can throw off the entire body into a state of disorder.