Image credit: 4teachers.org
You know that old phrase “I know it like the back of my hand?” Well, there may be something a bit backhanded, if you’ll permit me (your permission would be appreciated, by the way, as the word makes little sense in context, but come on!) about that expression. Why? Because even though we tend to spend every single day with our own bodies, most people know shockingly little about themselves, physiologically speaking, at least. For example, without looking down, how many individual hairs are there on the back of your own right hand? See? You don’t even know! And if you think that’s interesting, then you are a very easy person to please. If not, read on – we got more for ya!
5 The human circulatory system adds up to a length of nearly SIXTY THOUSAND MILES
We end where we began, with the circulatory system, and this ridiculous statistic: If you laid out the entire circulatory system of the average adult “end to end,” meaning every vein, artery, capillary, then you would probably be committed for life, you crazy bastard. But before they put you away, you’d realize that the human circulatory system adds up to a length of nearly SIXTY THOUSAND MILES! That is really long. And it’s all inside you, right now! Which is good, because you need it.
4 You only “need” about one third of one kidney to survive
You might know that you only “need” about one third of one kidney to survive (without external help like dialysis), even though that kidney will be working really hard and might not be around indefinitely. But did you know that if you found yourself with only about a quarter of your liver, that liver would say “The hell with this” and grow itself right back again? That’s right, livers can regenerate like no other complex part of the body! Hair, skin, nails, bone (to some extent), sure, they all grow back to varying degrees. But your liver, a complex, multi-function organ, will grow itself back pretty much completely if as much as a quarter of it survives disease or trauma. But that’s not license to abuse it, for the record!
3 Your body generates electricity!
Yes, you yourself are like the electric eel of humankind, except without all the horrific genetic engineering and back-alley surgeries that would be involved in actually bringing that concept to light. The human body – mostly the brain part of the body – generates enough electricity, largely through chemical interactions, that could it be properly harnessed, it could light a 10 watt light bulb. Take that refrigerator! Wait, why lash out at the fridge? We can survive together in peace. Now that that’s settled, moving on.
2 And did you know… that your stomach acid can eat through some pretty amazing stuff
The HCl (hydrogen chloride) that is your very own gastric acid can eat its way through the following items with relative ease: Zinc, copper, steel, wood, and… well, most stuff, actually. In small enough (or rather low-density enough) quantities, not much at all can stand up to stomach acid. So how does your stomach do it? By constantly regenerating the cells that make up its lining.
1 Did you know… that a single red blood cell takes only about one minute to complete a circuit through the human body?
Crazy, yes, but true. Even though some red blood cells flow all the way to the toes and some make the lazy journey to the brain and, um, clavicles, averaged all together, each of your millions of little oxygen-delivery doughnuts (the technical term) takes on average just sixty seconds to be pumped from your heart out on its merry way and then back through the lungs and into those ventricles and atriums again. Wowsers, I know.
Now go off and learn more about your own body! But not about other people’s bodies. Or hey, do whatever you want, but because you want to, and not because of anything we said, OK?