If we try to look at the insides of a human body, we can see that it is made up of different organs. These organs work hand in hand in order to carry out the daily activities of the body. Each of these organs has specific roles or functions to offer and each of these roles is considered vital to the survival of the system. An example of an important organ in the body is none other than the spleen. However, a lot of us are still confused or unfamiliar with the exact responsibilities of the spleen in maintaining the optimum health of our body. Some of us are even unaware of the organ’s exact location. Below are some of the facts and details with regards to the functions and anatomy of the spleen as well as the spleen location.
What is the Spleen?
The spleen is a human organ that is responsible in creating the lymphocytes in the body as well as in the destruction and recycling of the old RBCs or red blood cells in the blood stream. Aside from these roles, the spleen also acts as a blood reservoir. It allows the supplication of blood to the body in case of emergencies or accidents that result to severe blood loss or hemorrhage. It is also the location where the WBCs or the white blood cells trap invading organisms. The spleen is normally purplish gray in color.
The spleen in shaped liked a loose fist that has an average adult weight of approximately 0.44 lbs. The size of the spleen actually adjusts depending on the activity of the stomach. Usually, it increases its size during and right after digestion. Aside from these, other conditions or infections such as malaria or mono can also increase the size of the spleen. However, increasing the size of the spleen can be harmful since this can cause rupture. Once the spleen ruptures, immediate medical attention must be given right away in order to prevent having complications. Surgical management is usually done in order to prevent or stop bleeding. Other diseases that can cause the increase in size of the spleen include rheumatoid arthritis, sickle cell anemia, lymphoma, systemic lupus and leukemia.
The Exact Location of the Spleen
The location of the spleen is actually considered to be very strategic in the body. The spleen is actually located in the upper far left portion of the abdomen. In other words, it is found in the left hypochondriac region of the abdomen. However, the spleen is not usually palpable. This is because it is still under the protection of the rib cage, which blocks it from the surface of the abdomen. However, the spleen becomes palpable once it is abnormally enlarged.
Other Functions of the Spleen
The spleen is actually made up of two types of tissues namely the red pulp tissue and the white pulp tissue. Each of these tissues performs a specific role or function. The red pulp in the spleen is designed to create lymphocytes for the destruction as well as the recycling of the old blood cells in the body. On the other hand, the white pulp tissue works in filtering out the bacteria, parasites and the debris that have accumulated in the blood. These tissues are actually similar in composition or material to that of the lymph nodes. This is why the white pulp is also capable of creating certain immune cells for the body. Before birth, the function of the spleen is mainly to manufacture red blood cells. However, once after delivery, this particular role is already passed down to the bone marrow. Since the platelets and the WBCs are stored in the spleen, it is considered in vital in trapping hazardous organisms. This is why the spleen is capable of preventing dangerous diseases such as meningitis and pneumonia.
As we can see, the location of the spleen is very useful for the protection of the organ. However, this can still be susceptible to different types of diseases or injuries. One of the most common spleen injuries are those that are caused by accidents. These accidents can cause fractured ribs on the left side to occur thus affecting the integrity of the spleen. Nevertheless, other common causes of spleen injury are those from contact sports such as ice hockey, rugby, football and a lot more. Once the impact on the spleen is considered severe, it can cause rupture of the spleen, which can be very critical to the health since this can cause excessive blood loss in the abdominal area. In addition to these, the location of the spleen also has its disadvantages since this puts the organ at risk for certain infections such as liver diseases, tuberculosis, hepatitis and leukemia. This is because the spleen is located near to the primary organs that are affected by the mentioned infections.
Possibility of Removing the Spleen
Although the spleen is an important part in maintaining the health of the body, this organ is still possible for removal. Unlike the heart or the lungs, the body can actually continue to survive without the function of the spleen. However, the body is already considered very susceptible to infections and other diseases. Another reason for removing the spleen is due to certain types of cancers. Nevertheless, once the spleen is removed and the body gets its first signs and symptoms of infection such as fever, sore throat and headache, it is important to immediately consult a doctor so as to prevent the condition from worsening or complicating. These are just some of the important facts about spleen.