April 8, 2012

GI Fun Facts – Part I (?)

Filed under: Fun facts — sanguinemare @ 2:15 pm
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Here are some fun/medical facts we have learned from GI so far (during material for the first test):


  • Appendicitis usually starts out hurting near the umbilicus (belly-button) because of referred pain (organs have something called “visceral nerves” which don’t have pain receptors), but when it gets more inflamed, that’s when it starts hurting in the right lower quadrant of your abdomen (because that’s when it presses on your peritoneum (the inside lining of your stomach), which DOES have pain sensors).
  • Cholecystitis (gall stones) are formed if you have either too much cholesterol or if you have too little bile salts (b/c excess cholesterol starts crystallizing around the bile salts).  Treatment?  Synthetic bile salts or surgical removal of the gallbladder (which means bye-bye ability to eat fats :/)

Fun facts

  • Chewing gum actually uses up a lot of energy – if you chew gum continuously while you’re awake for a year, it is estimated that you will lose 5kg!
  • Hiccups are from spasms of the epiglottis and esophagus.
  • Swallowing is a very complex process which involves the food in your mouth turning into a bolus, then your tongue pushing it to the back of your throat (pharynx), the epiglottis (a flap at the opening of your airway) closes to block off the airway so that the food can slide behind the trachea into the esophagus, and then peristaltic waves help push the food down.  Speaking of the esophagus, did you know the top third is skeletal muscle (voluntary), the bottom third is smooth muscle (involuntary), and the middle third is both?
  • Lifesavers were called that because they had a hole in the middle, so if you swallowed it down the wrong tube, you could still breathe.
  • It takes about 10 seconds to get food from your mouth to your stomach (less for liquids of course).  This is called primary peristalsis (you can’t feel secondary peristalsis).
  • Food actually shoots out of your stomach into the small intestine in jets!  (It’s not a smooth transition/squishing out).
  • Food empties completely out of your stomach by ~100 min after you eat.  It takes 2 more hours to empty completely out of the small intestine (food moves at about 5cm/min).
  • You will eat about 30 tons of food in your lifetime.
  • Red bull is called what it is because it has a lot of the amino acid Taurine in it. Tau- as in tauros, the bull.

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