How much do you know about your spleen? Here are some weird and wacky facts that might have you thanking your spleen for what it does. 10% of people have an extra, tiny spleen next to their regularly-sized one, and it's considered normal. Splenomegaly is the technical name for an enlarged spleen. Where the spleen hangs out: Under the left side of your ribcage. Spleens are actually more purple than red (and they're definitely not green)! Spleens do not regenerate, but livers can! The spleen also gets rid of old red blood cells. Here's how: when blood cells get old, they get stiff; the spleen has tiny channels called blood capillaries. These are too small for old, stiff blood cells to get through, so they get caught. Then the white blood cells in the spleen break down the old red blood cells. Know any more cool facts about spleens? Comment below!
Did you know your organs can be covered in "icing"? This disease happens when an organ's outer membrane is inflamed and can grow a white coating. It most often affects spleens, but can happen to the liver and heart, too. Just keep that icing on cake, where it belongs - and away from my spleen!
This month is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Chances are, if you don't have the disease, you don't know much about it (unless you work in the health field). So to understand Celiac disease, we first have to know what a little thing called gluten is. Gluten is a protein in grains like wheat, oats, barley, and rye. It means "glue" in Latin, because it holds bread together and gives dough its stickiness. Different grains have different amounts of gluten; the more gluten, the chewier it makes your baked goods. For example, the flour used for bagels and pizza has more gluten than the flours used in light, crumbly pastries. So what does gluten have to do with Celiac disease? If gluten goes into the small intestine of someone with the disease, it causes an immune system reaction. This means gas, bloating, etc. "True celiacs" will have these reactions even if they eat a small amount of gluten. Other people may just be sensitive to gluten and need to eat less of it. More about Celiac disease here.