Fluids in the Human Body
Water is the key to life and plays an important role in our body fluids, these being essential to the efficient functioning of all the body's systems. Foods ingested that are high in liquids are to an advantage in keeping levels at an all time high and, yes you have heard it a thousand times or more ` to drink sufficient water!! It is interesting that thirst produces only 50% of intake needed. At this point it is worth mentioning electrolytes, which are solutions of minerals to keep the body hydrated, being present in blood plasma and the fluids surrounding body cells. This week's article will deal with 4 important fluids, a brief description of each and detrimental effects if imbalance occurs.
Blood supplies about 7-8% of body weight, with a maximum content of 5 litres. Blood has a salty, slightly metallic taste and a pH of an alkaline nature. The more solid components such as red and white corpuscles and platelets are suspended in the straw coloured liquid know as plasma. Our bone marrow can produce as many as 500 components per day and if this function fails, disease results.
For this reason, life saving bone marrow transplants are vital to sufferers.
On the other hand thousands of people daily require blood transfusions. Shortages become critical when reserves run low in the blood banks. In a country like ours, which is rife with accidents, donations are ever needed to sustain life. However, Science now has a vital role to play. It is enlightening that the university of Edinburgh has, using stem cells, produced red blood cells fit for transfusions, paving the way for mass production.
There are in total 2-4 million sweat glands in the human body and common causes of sweating are generally known. These glands are abundantly found in the armpits, the groin, palms and soles. Contrary to belief, sweat is odourless until it comes into contact with bacteria on the skin surface and only then does it take on a 'smell'.
A chief function of sweat is thermo-regulation, but excessive production known as hyperidrosis can become a 'personal monster' to sufferers, continually mopping it up. Fortunately there is a surgical procedure to remedy this, by clamping glands under the armpit and to interrupt the nerve signals that activate the sweat glands. As for cosmetics, deodorants merely mask the odour of perspiration, whereas anti-perspirants control the amount which is excreted to the surface. Both have an inclusion of perfume, unless hypo-allergenic.
We barely give urine more than a passing glance as it disappears down the toilet bowl, yet it can reflect a host of internal disorders. For hundreds of years urinalysis has given physicians a clue to the state of health and many factors can de-stabilize the pH of urine.
Urine can present quite a rainbow of colours, not necessarily cause for alarm. For example, medication can alter a normal colour to blue or green. Excessive blood causes redness, carrots a hue of orange and vitamin B a bright yellow. As for odour; alcohol, coffee and onion can all have effects due to the breakdown of the vegetables acid.
Saliva contains 99.5% water plus mucus, enzymes and proteins. It's chief function is to begin the process of digestion. Saliva also lubricates the mouth and facilitates swallowing and is very important regarding the sense of taste as the chemicals it contains are carried to the taste sensors. A lack of saliva production is due to underlying factors like the intake of medications, dehydration and nerve problems, thus the horrible dry mouth experienced when a person who detests flying is about to board!
At the other end of the spectrum is an excessive production of saliva which commonly accompanies nausea and precedes vomiting. Then the question arises whether we "salivate" when smelling tempting food.. Yes indeed we may well drool at the sight of an enticing cream doughnut!! The topic of saliva also brings to mind that famous experiment carried out by the Russian scientist Pavlov, using a dog to prove "conditioned reflex". A bell was rung prior to feeding and in time the animal associated the sound with food and began to salivate!! The delightful known fragrances of the MATSIMELA range available at Mowana Spa can act as a stimulant to try new products & experience products tried & tested!