The Miracle of being Human

The Miracle of Being Human

Every day, think as you wake up: Today I am fortunate to have woken up. I am alive, I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it. ~The Dalai Lama

Major systems in the body

We have an incredible human biological system that carries out specific functions necessary for everyday living within 11 major organs.

Cardiovascular system

Also known as the circulatory system, it moves blood, nutrients, oxygen, carbon dioxide and hormones around the body.  As a vast network of organs and vessels, it is responsible for the flow of blood, nutrients, hormones, oxygen and other gases to and from cells. Without the circulatory system, the body would not be able to fight disease or maintain a stable internal environment — such as proper temperature and pH — known as homeostasis.  It is made up of three independent systems that work together: the heart (cardiovascular); lungs (pulmonary); and arteries, veins, coronary and portal vessels (systemic).

In the average human, about 2,000 gallons (7,572 litres) of blood travel daily through about 60,000 miles (96,560 kilometres) of blood vessels. An average adult has 4.7 to 5.6 litres of blood, which is made up of plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. In addition to blood, the circulatory system moves lymph, which is a clear fluid that helps rid the body of unwanted material.

Digestive System

The digestive system consists of a series of connected organs that together allow the body to break down and absorb food and remove waste.  It begins at the mouth, includes the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (also known as the colon) and rectum, and ends at the anus. The entire system — from mouth to anus — is about 30 feet (9 meters) long

Endocrine System

The endocrine system consists of 8 glands (a gland selects and removes materials from the blood, processes them and secretes the finished chemical product into the blood to regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, among other things. 

Pituitary:  Master gland that controls the thyroid gland, adrenal gland, ovaries and testicles. While it may be in charge of these glands, it gets it orders from its neighbour, the hypothalamus. 

Thyroid: Thyroid hormones impact a host of vital body functions, including heart rate, skin maintenance, growth, temperature regulation, fertility and digestion

Parathyroid: Parathyroid glands are four small glands of the endocrine system which regulate the calcium in our bodies. Parathyroid glands are located in the neck behind the thyroid where they continuously monitor and regulate blood calcium levels. 

The most important thing that calcium does in the human body is provide the means for electrical impulses to travel along nerves. Calcium is what the nervous system of our body uses to conduct electricity. This is why the most common symptoms of parathyroid disease and high calcium levels are related to the nervous system (depression, weakness, tiredness, etc, etc).  Just like the nerves in our bodies, our muscles use changes in calcium levels inside the cells to provide the energy to contract.

When the calcium levels are not correct, people can feel weak and have muscle cramps.  The most important role of calcium is to provide for the proper functioning of our nervous system–not to provide strength to our bones–that is secondary.

Adrenals: Adrenal glands produce and release Cortisol, Aldosterone, DHEA and Epinephrine into the bloodstream that help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to stress and other essential functions. 

Cortisol helps control the body’s use of fats, proteins and carbohydrates; suppresses inflammation; regulates blood pressure; increases blood sugar; and can also decrease bone formation.  It also controls the sleep/wake cycle. It is released during times of stress to help your body get an energy boost and better handle an emergency situation. 

Aldosterone regulates blood pressure and certain electrolytes (sodium and potassium).

DHEA are precursor hormones that are converted in the ovaries into female hormones (oestrogens) and in the testes into male hormones (androgens) and

Epinephrine controls hormones that help you cope with physical and emotional stress.

Pancreas: The pancreas is an organ located in the abdomen. It plays an essential role in converting the food we eat into fuel for the body’s cells. The pancreas has two main functions: an exocrine function that helps in digestion and an endocrine function that regulates blood sugar.  A healthy pancreas produces the correct chemicals in the proper quantities, at the right times, to digest the foods we eat.

Ovaries: The ovaries are an important part of the female reproductive system that produce hormones, including oestrogen, that trigger menstruation. They also release at least one egg each month for possible fertilization.

Testicles: The testicles produce and store sperm, and they are also the body’s main source of male hormones (testosterone).

Thyroid:  The thyroid gland is the body’s metabolic control centre that controls brain, heart and kidney function, as well as body temperature, growth and muscle strength.  The most common endocrine disease is diabetes in which the body does not properly process glucose, a simple sugar.

Immune System

The immune system is the body’s defence against bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that may be harmful. 

Lymphatic System

The purpose of the lymphatic system is to make and remove lymph, a clear fluid that contains white blood cells. 

Muscular Skeletal System

We have 650 muscles that aid blood flow, movement and other bodily functions.  Our bodies are supported by the skeletal system which consists of 206 bones that are connected by tendons, ligaments and cartilage.

Reproductive System allows us to reproduce.

Respiratory System allows us to take in vital oxygen and expel carbon dioxide through breathing.

Urinary System helps eliminate urea from the body which is produced when certain foods are broken down.

Integumentary System The skin or integumentary system which is the largest organ, protects us from the outside world.

Nervous System

The nervous system controls both voluntary action (conscious movement) and involuntary actions (breathing) and sends signals to different parts of the body.  The central nervous system (CNS) is composed of the brain and the spinal cord. The central nervous system communicates with the rest of the body by sending messages from the brain through the nerves that branch off of your spine. You are able to move your body, get out of bed, drive to work, play tennis, and so on, when your mind’s intention to move is translated by the brain into neuro-chemicals and electrical impulses. The chemical and electrical impulses, through contractions of your skeletal muscles, result in the movement of your body.

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