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This Organ That No One Thinks About Is More Important Than You Know
Most people never give their spleen a second thought — until there is a problem. There are many articles about the liver and gallbladder, even the kidneys, but when was the last time you read anything about your spleen? Your spleen performs very important functions in the body, and when it doesn’t work properly, you can be in for some serious health problems.
When your spleen is working properly and is a normal size, you won’t feel it, and you won’t even be aware that it is there. But once enlarged, this organ will cause some serious problems. Your spleen generally becomes enlarged for several reasons, including liver infection or even cancer.
Your spleen can be found in the upper left part of the abdomen, directly under the ribcage that protects it. It is above your stomach and about the size of a fist. Your spleen is part of your lymph system and is designed to help cleanse the body of infections and other foreign matter in conjunction with the immune system. It filters your blood and removes viruses and bacteria.
Although you can live without your spleen, your ability to fight infection will be seriously reduced. Your liver would take over some of the functions of the spleen if you should have to have it removed, but your immune system will forever be compromised. This is why you should take good care of your spleen — so that it can take good care of you.
Let’s look at some of the problems the spleen can develop.
1. Swollen or Enlarged Spleen
When the spleen becomes enlarged, it is not considered a separate condition, but is often the results of an underlying problem such as cancer of the blood, chronic infection, or anemia. Because a swollen spleen is a symptom of disease, it can’t be overlooked.
Common symptoms of a swollen spleen are:
- A sensation of being full after eating a small amount or even without eating. This occurs because the enlarged spleen is now pressing on the stomach.
- Exhausting fatigue
- Frequent infections
- Weight loss
- Pain in the upper left part of the abdomen. This is sometimes confused with stomach pain, but if it spreads to the left shoulder and becomes more severe when you take a deep breath, this is due to an enlarged spleen.
- Easy bleeding
If you are experiencing these feelings or symptoms, you should notify your doctor.
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