The spleen is an organ of the body present on the left side of the abdomen near the stomach. It is around 200 grams in weight in the average healthy adult.
Spleen performs two-fold functions in the body. It produces components of the immune system which fight disease, and it also purifies the blood from abnormal cells e.g., defective and old red blood cells.
A healthy spleen is free from diseases and performs its function in an optimum manner. The spleen is vulnerable to a variety of disorders. It is important to understand what can go wrong with the spleen so that we can prevent it and maintain the health of the organ. We will discuss three important disorders of spleen here; Splenomgaly, Hypersplenism, and Splenic Rupture.
Splenomegaly is the enlargement of the spleen. Due to a disorder, the spleen can gain weight of up to two thousand grams. One of the causes of splenomegaly can be hemolytic anemia. In hemolytic anemia rapid breakdown of blood cells takes place, causing a lot of strain on the spleen resulting in its enlargement. Some of the other causes of the disease can be cancers, infections, and liver disease
In hypersplenism decrease in the count of one or more components of the blood and enlargement of the spleen are two of the most common characteristics that are observed. The disorder is mostly caused as a result of disease in another part of the body, such as cirrhosis of the liver. In this disease, the spleen becomes overactive and destroys more blood cells than normal.
This disease shows varying symptoms depending upon the component of the blood cell that has become reduced. For example, in the case of a red blood cell deficiency, anemia will result along with fatigue and pale appearance.
Splenic rupture can happen because of diseases such as glandular fever. The glandular fever disease makes the spleen fragile enough to rupture spontaneously. A blow to the abdomen can tear the outer layer of the spleen, and as a result, there is bleeding into the abdominal cavity. If the bleeding becomes life-threatening, then the spleen is removed by performing surgery.
The process of surgically removing the spleen is called splenectomy. The body tends to be more susceptible to infections after the procedure. Also, after a splenectomy, odd-shaped red blood cells may also be found in the blood. In some cases, only the removal of the damaged part of the spleen is advised. In this way, the healthy portion of the spleen keeps on functioning as normal.
The general symptoms of spleen dysfunction include pain behind the left side of the ribs, bruising, fatigue, compromised immune system, anemia, and loss of energy.
In order to maintain a healthy spleen function, the consumption of a balanced diet is recommended. It is important to lead a healthy and active lifestyle so that all the organs of the body, including spleen, keep on functioning properly.
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Until Next Time,
Team Doctor ASKY!