With 206 bones, more than 650 muscles, and over nine pints of blood, the human body is truly a work of art! Each system works in conjunction with all the other systems to keep everything running smoothly even while you’re sleeping.
Let’s take a tour around some of the major body systems and examine ways to keep them healthy.
- The Circulatory System
The circulatory system pumps blood, hormones, nutrients, oxygen, and other gases around the body. Also known as the cardiovascular system, it includes the heart, lungs, arteries, veins, coronary vessels, and portal vessels. The heart pumps the equivalent of 2,000 gallons of blood around the body each day through a network of 60,000 miles of blood vessels! Problems with this system can include cardiac issues such as high blood pressure, congenital heart defects, heart rhythm abnormalities (arrhythmia), and congestive heart failure. Potential pulmonary (lung) problems include asthma, lung infections such as pneumonia, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
To keep your circulation in top shape and reduce your risk of developing these issues, it’s important to manage your risk factors. Try to quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, and adopt a healthy diet (plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and exercise regimen. Stay away from drugs and alcohol. If you have a problem with these things, you might want to go to an alcohol rehabilitation center to get help.
Aim to get between seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you feel particularly sensitive to caffeine, try to limit it to keep your heart rhythm healthy. Some people feel they can self-diagnose and self-treat these issues, but you’d call a plumber for a serious drain issue, right? So be sure to see your doctor regularly to monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you ever have any shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, or palpitations, have these evaluated urgently as they can be signs of underlying conditions.
- The Urinary System
Part of the excretory system, the urinary system includes the kidneys, bladder, urethra, and ureter. This system eliminates toxins and waste materials from the body through the process of urination. Located just below the rib cage, the body’s two kidneys are bean-shaped, and one sits on either side of the spine. Some problems that can occur with the urinary system include urinary tract infections, renal disease and renal failure, overactive bladder, and cancer.
To keep the urinary system working smoothly, it’s crucial to stay properly hydrated as dehydration can upset the balance of this system and lead to infections and problems with waste removal. Experts recommend drinking six to eight glasses of water per day at a minimum. Go to the toilet when needed, and consider doing special exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Keeping a healthy lifestyle in general by avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol, and maintaining a healthy weight can help promote the wellbeing of your urinary system, too. If you notice any burning or pressure with urination, feel that you cannot empty your bladder completely, or experience frequent urination (more than eight times per day), see your doctor for an examination to rule out potentially serious problems.
- The Digestive System
This body system includes the mouth, esophagus, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, stomach, and large and small intestines. These are responsible for coordinating the digestion (the breakdown of food) and absorption of nutrients by the body. Typical problems that can occur with the digestive system include acid reflux, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), peptic ulcer disease, and gallstones.
To maintain proper functioning of your digestive system, drink plenty of water and be mindful of your nutrition. For healthy people, experts generally recommend eating a high-fiber diet that is low in fat. However, if you have certain digestive issues such as IBS, it’s especially important to get personalized nutrition advice from a healthcare professional as too much fiber may make symptoms worse. If you experience any cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, abnormal bleeding, or an inability to keep food down, see your doctor for an evaluation.