It’s difficult to protect the health of the spleen. Avoid contact sports and other high-impact activities until cleared by your doctor. Last medically reviewed on March 8, 2018. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It’s also responsible for making substances that play an important role in inflammation and healing. Yet without your spleen, you will be more likely to get certain infections. With the central role the spleen plays in cleaning and managing the health of your blood, the spleen can be affected by diseases of other organs. The spleen serves a critical role in immune function because it purifies the blood and helps the immune system to recognize and attack foreign pathogens and allergens. A study published in 2009 using mice found that the red pulp of the spleen forms a reservoir that contains over half of the body's monocytes. Steps to Take, The Spleen (Human Anatomy): Picture, Definition, Function, and Related Conditions, Blood Disorder Types, Symptoms, and Treatments. It does this by breaking down and removing cells that are abnormal, old, or damaged. © 2005-2020 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. Old red blood cells are recycled in … It removes unwanted materials and abnormal cells in … This is possible because other organs, such as the liver and bone marrow , can perform filtration functions in the body. The difference between healthy and unhealthy blood cells is measured in microns, which means any change in the shape of your blood cells can affect the ability of your spleen to function. The spleen is the largest secondary lymphoid organ in the body and, as such, hosts a wide range of immunologic functions alongside its roles in hematopoiesis and red blood cell clearance. National Institutes of Health web site: “Spleen Diseases.”. This can lead to removal of the spleen. The spleen is an organ in the upper far left part of the abdomen, to the left of the stomach. The spleen is made up of two types of tissue – the white and the red pulp – and they each serve a different function. The spleen works with other organs in the body to complete the tasks of blood storage, fighting infection and filtering the blood. Infections and injuries can damage your spleen and cause it to enlarge or even rupture. It can become significantly larger when a person is sick or injured. The spleen can also become injured or rupture immediately after a hard hit to the abdomen, a rib fracture, or other accident. The spleen is part of your body’s lymphatic system. It acts as a filter for blood as part of the immune system. The human spleen is about the size of a fist and is tucked under the left ribcage. Here are a few tips: If you do develop an enlarged spleen, follow the treatment plan your doctor recommends. The spleen most importantly protects against infections from polysaccharide-encapsulated bacteria including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae type B, Neisseria meningitidis, Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Klebsiella, and group B Streptococci (SHiNE SKiS) 2). Learn more about your spleen: https://wb.md/31itxLVIt's that organ right behind the stomach and under the lungs, but honestly what does the spleen do? One of the spleen’s main jobs is to filter your blood. The spleen plays multiple supporting roles in the body. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The spleen varies in size and shape between people, but it’s commonly fist-shaped, purple, and about 4 inches long. Old red blood cells are recycled in the spleen, and platelets and white blood cells are stored there. The OALD dictionary defines the organ as: It is a soft, purple, vascular organ, shaped like a small smooth rounded catcher's mitt with notches on the upper front edge. Gayer, G. British Journal of Radiology, 2001; vol 74: pp 764-772. The spleen is an organ containing blood vessels and lymph nodes. The spleen is part of your lymphatic system, which fights infection and keeps your body fluids in balance. Instead, the spleen is connected to your blood vessels, with an artery that brings blood to it and a vein which takes the blood away. bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections such as syphilis, blood cancers such as Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, and lymphoma, metabolic disorders like Gaucher’s disease and Niemann-Pick disease, a blood clot in a vein of the spleen or liver. The spleen sits in the upper left part of your abdomen. In many amphibians, especially frogs, it has the more rounded form and there is often a greater quantity of white pulp. These veins are tributaries of the inferior mesenteric vein…, The small intestine is made up of the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. It’s located behind your ribs, under your diaphragm, and above and behind to your stomach. The appendicular vein removes oxygen-depleted blood from the appendix, which is located at the bottom of the ascending colon. All rights reserved. One major function is that this organ filters blood, removing foreign bodies, microbes, and faulty red blood cells (R… However, one of the main functions of the spleen … Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells. Eventually, it can become painful. Sign Up to Receive Our Free Coroanvirus Newsletter, Gastroparesis: What to Eat and What to Avoid, Newly Diagnosed With Crohn's? It is the size of a human fist. Although the spleen is an important organ, it is not vital for human survival. If it’s damaged by disease or injury, it can be removed without threatening your life. This causes no problems and is considered normal. It plays an important role- in the body’s defense against infection. The spleen functions as part of the immune system and contributes to the production and storage of blood cells as part of the circulatory system. In many instances, the spleen enlarges as it performs its normal functions. What Are Chronic Myeloproliferative Disorders? The spleen is responsible for the production and maturation of IgM, B lymphocytes, and opsonins 1). As part of the lymphatic system, the spleen serves multiple major and inter-related functions involving the body’s blood supply; however, despite the significance of what it does, the body can survive without it.2 If removed or damaged, the liver, bone marrow, lymph nodes, and other surrounding organs can take up some of what it does. It acts as a filter for blood as part of the immune system. In some people, it originates from the left or right hepatic…, The ascending colon (or right colon) is the beginning part of the colon. It usually cannot be felt as most of it is shielded by the ribs. . However, there are a few preventable causes of an enlarged spleen, such as avoiding infections or injuries that could damage it. More recently, it was found that the spleen acts as a storage space for monocytes, highly aggressive forms of white blood cells, which become macrophages at the site of infections to eat pathogens and prevent tissue damage. Get the statistics on survival rates, find out the most common symptoms, diagnostic options, and treatments. Without the spleen, other organs in the body (particularly the liver) adapt and increase their ability to fight infection and remove redundant red blood cells. Here's what you need to know about spleen cancer, including causes, symptoms, treatment options, and more. Mayo Clinic: "Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly).". The spleen plays an important role in your immune system response. An excess destruction of blood cells, for example, can overwork the spleen, and cause it to enlarge. Your doctor generally can't feel a normal-sized spleen in adults but can feel an enlarged spleen. The spleen plays multiple supporting roles in the body. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation to protect your liver and avoid cirrhosis. While the spleen is useful and does perform vital tasks, other organs in the body also work to filter the blood and fight infection, and blood cells are mainly produced in the bones. An enlarged spleen is usually detected during a physical exam. However, medical supplementation is often needed in such cases. The spleen has a few important functions: It fights any invading germs in the blood (the spleen contains infection-fighting white blood cells). The spleen is an oval-shaped organ that sits under the rib cage on the left-hand side of the body. Your spleen is involved in your body’s immune response, and in recycling old blood cells. An enlargement of the spleen that leads to the destruction of too many blood cells is a condition called hypersplenism. The function of spleen is to make new red blood cells and destroy old cells. It is possible to have the spleen removed and live a healthy life. If you play football or other contact sports, wear safety gear, including padding, to help protect your spleen and other organs from injury. Don’t share personal items like silverware, toothbrushes, or drinks with other people, especially if you know they’ve been sick with an infection like mono. Individuals without a spleen may be mor… As you've seen, your spleen is often on the "front lines" of your body; in fact, your spleen is a busy organ – especially considering its small size. This organ is part of your immune system. When it detects bacteria, viruses, or other germs in your blood, it produces white blood cells, called lymphocytes, to fight off these infections. It contains white blood cells that fight germs. Spleen Functions In Chinese Medicine Spleen function takes what comes from the Stomach, and transforms it into Blood, fluids and Energy (‘Qi’), then transports these round the body. The spleen also helps fight certain kinds of bacteria that cause pneumonia and meningitis. The red … Use a condom every time you have sex with a new, untested partner to protect you from sexually transmitted infections. \"The spleen . You can live a normal, healthy life without a spleen. The spleen is an internal organ, about the size of a fist, found in the human abdomen. Together with the esophagus, large intestine, and the stomach, it forms the…, The masseter muscle is a facial muscle that plays a major role in the chewing of solid foods. © 2005 - 2020 WebMD LLC. In cartilaginous and ray-finned fish, it consists primarily of red pulp and is normally somewhat elongated, as it lies inside the serosal lining of the intestine. The spleen can be defined as the largest gland of the lymphatic system, located to the left of the stomach, which helps your body combat diseases and get rid of debris. Accessory spleen: About 10% of people have a small extra spleen. The white pulp produces white blood cells, called lymphocytes, which play an important role in the body’s protection against infections. All rights reserved. This is particularly important for people who suffer from heart problems, as monocytes are instrumental in repairing heart tissue following a heart attack. What Is Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH)? It serves important immune functions. The spleen also acts as the primar… acts as a blood filter; it controls the amount of red blood cells and blood storage in the body, and helps to fight infection,\" said Jordan Knowlton, an advanced registered nurse practitioner at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. If the damage is extensive, you might need surgery to remove your spleen. Spleen Function in Human Body “The spleen … serves as a blood filter; it manages the amount of red blood cells and blood storage in the body, and assists to eliminate infection,” said Jordan Knowlton, a sophisticated registered nurse practitioner at the University of … The spleen also stores red blood cells, platelets, and infection-fighting white blood cells. Smart Grocery Shopping When You Have Diabetes, Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dogs and Cats, Coronavirus in Context: Interviews With Experts. The sigmoid vein, also called the vena sigmoideus, refers to one group of sigmoid veins. Certain diseases might cause your spleen to … Many different conditions can cause the spleen to enlarge, especially diseases that cause blood cells to break down too quickly. The spleen is an organ located in the upper left part of the abdomen, behind the stomach and under the diaphragm. It affects the number of red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body, and the number of platelets, which are cells that help your blood to clot. The lymphatic system helps remove cellular waste, maintain fluid balance, and make and activate infection-fighting white blood cells for the immune system. The spleen controls the level of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets (small cells that form blood clots) Depending on your age and overall health, your doctor will likely recommend that you get vaccinated against infections like these: Though your spleen isn’t a large organ, it plays many important roles in your body. The spleen performs several helpful functions for the body, including making antibodies, removing bacteria, removing old red blood cells, breaking down waste products of red blood cells, recycling iron for use in new red blood cells, and holding a reserve of red blood cells and immune cells which the body can use in case of emergencies. 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