What does the spleen do? How about the navel? The Doctors answer your questions about your body’s most mysterious parts.
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It’s soft, purple and the size of your fist. But do you know where the spleen is located and what it does? The Doctors hits the streets to test passersby’s body knowledge.
The spleen is an organ located in the upper far left part of the abdomen, to the left of the stomach, underneath the rib cage. “That’s why most people don’t know where it is,” E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says. “Because, unless it’s inflamed, you’re not going to be able to feel it.”
The organ acts as part of the immune system to filter blood. It removes old, damaged or irregular red blood cells, while saving useful elements of old cells, such as iron. It can also fight certain bacteria that cause illnesses such as pneumonia or meningitis.
“A normal spleen weighs about 6 oz.,” pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says. “But with certain infections, like [mononucleosis], it can enlarge to about 10-times the size, over 4 pounds. And then you’re at risk of rupturing your spleen, which is a big problem.
“A lot of people wonder: Can you live without your spleen,” Dr. Sears adds. “You actually can. It’s an important organ, but it’s not vital. If you lose your spleen for some reason, your lymph nodes and your liver can take over some of its function. But, [the spleen] is important to fight certain infections, so you’re going to need to take precautions, like getting certain extra vaccinations.”
Have you ever pondered the purpose of your big toe?
“It does a lot more than you think,” podiatrist and foot surgeon Dr. Ali Sadrieh says. “Your little toes are for feeling the ground you’re walking on; your big toe is for propulsion. So, when you run, when you jog, when you dance, that big toe is doing a lot.
“In fact, did you know that [more than] 40 percent of your weight is distributed on the big toe?” Dr. Sadrieh adds. “That’s why, if you lose your big toe, or something happens to your big toe from diabetes or other disease processes, you could be in serious trouble. Your foot has to compensate, and the weight is distributed to other parts, creating all sorts of deformities – hammertoe, structural problems, wounds – it’s a real issue. So be sure to visit your podiatrist regularly, and put your best toe forward!”
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Face: Is a person’s face falling on one side?
Arms: Can a person lift his or her arms above their head?
Speech: Is the person’s speech slurred?
Time: It’s time to call 911.
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