The Digestive System
Human Digestive System
In order for the human digestive system to function at an optimal level, the human body must be properly nourished with healthy and nourishing food to support its daily needs. You need to give it continuous supply of energy fuel, vitamins, and minerals so that all organs can properly function and perform. However, before these nutrients can be distributed and absorbed into the body, the food that we eat will have to be processed and broken down by the human Digestive System so it can be properly circulated to all the organs.
The Digestive system is a complex series of body organs responsible for the mechanical and chemical break down of food. From its’ state when we consume it, food is broken down into smaller particles until they become smaller molecules that can be easily absorbed into the bloodstream.
Two important chemicals are critical in the digestive system’s ability to process food; these are the bile and the pancreatic juice. Both have important roles in the complex process of fat, starch and protein’s absorption into the body. The sphincter of oddi releases these fluids whenever it receives the brain’s signal to start digestion. The sphincter of oddi is the muscle valve in the middle of the pancreatic ducts and bile ducts and is the one responsible for the regulation of the release or flow of these fluids into the duodenum where they are mixed to the chyme or broken down food for further digestion. Interestingly, the sphincter of oddi releases these fluids only if there is food intake as dictated by the brain. It remains closed if the digestive system is at rest or if there is no food in the intestines.
Unfortunately, our digestive system takes a lot of beating. Poor eating habits, irregular eating schedule and excessive intake of fatty foods can affect its function including the sphincter of oddi. Normally, the valve remains shut if there is no food intake, but if the body is abused, it can start becoming spasmodic and can cause the releasing of bile and pancreatic juice even without the brains’ signal to start digestion. This is called the sphincter of oddi dysfunction. Incorrect medication and excessive use of alcohol and nicotine can aggravate the situation and must be avoided once a person is diagnosed with the condition. This is a serious matter because if bile and pancreatic juice are continuously released, they will activate the digestive enzymes inside the pancreas. If there is no food digest, the fluid will start to digest its own pancreatic cells, which can cause inflammation, pain and death of pancreatic tissues. This will then result to another serious medical condition commonly called as pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis is a severe medical condition that if left uncheck can cause death. Common symptom is pain in the gut. If the onset is sudden, it can be an indication that the condition is already severe. It is usually centered in front of the abdomen and it feels like the pain radiates to ones back and tends to worsens after food intake. Other symptoms of pancreatitis include nausea, fever, chills and rapid heartbeat. If the person suffering from pancreatitis already shows signs of lethargy, difficulty in concentration, low blood preside and headache, he or she has entered a critical situation called shock, at this point, emergency care should be sought.
There are many ways to take care of our digestive system to avoid dysfunction of oddi and pancreatitis. Eating right is at the top of the list. This includes avoiding fatty foods, limit alcohol intake and load up on vegetables and fruits that are rich in fiber. Drink plenty of water and of course exercise. Quit smoking because it contributes to many digestive problems.
No matter how hard we try in maintaining good health, there are just times when our bodies fall short. It may be due to some environment factors. There is pollution in our surroundings everywhere we look and this could be detrimental to our health and survival. However, despite this fact, it is our responsibility to listen to our body and take note of signs of changes. If you see irregularities in your digestive system, it is best that you consult a physician so that you can be properly tested and diagnosed. This is important so that proper intervention or medication can be applied if diagnosed to have sphincter of oddi dysfunction or pancreatitis.
Like any other mechanical systems, the digestive system can be subjected to wear and tear and can break down if abused and not given enough care. Balanced diet and proper eating habit should be observed. There are times when no matter how well we take care of our body, certain anomalies and health issue can arise, how much more if we don’t.