Digestive System | Function and Diseases

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April 24, 2020
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April 24, 2020
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Digestive System | Function and Diseases

What is Digestive System?

The energy required for all the processes and activities that take place in our bodies is derived from the foods we ingest. The digestive system allows us to utilize food from such diverse sources as meat from an animal and the roots of a plant, and utilize them as an energy source. Whether it is the ability to coordinate the chewing of the food without injuring our tongue and lips or the propulsion of the food from the stomach into the duodenum while releasing the appropriate enzymes, our digestive system allows us to manage the process without much thought and often while performing other tasks.

Mouth

The mouth is the beginning of the digestive tract. In fact, digestion starts here as soon as you take the first bite of a meal. Chewing breaks the food into pieces that are more easily digested, while saliva mixes with food to begin the process of breaking it down into a form your body can absorb and use.

Throat

Also called the pharynx, the throat is the next destination for food you’ve eaten. From here, food travels to the esophagus or swallowing tube.

Esophagus

The esophagus is a muscular tube extending from the pharynx to the stomach. By means of a series of contractions, called peristalsis, the esophagus delivers food to the stomach. Just before the connection to the stomach there is a “zone of high pressure,” called the lower esophageal sphincter; this is a “valve” meant to keep food from passing backwards into the esophagus.

The stomach and small intestine

From glands that line the stomach, acid and enzymes are secreted that continue the breakdown process of the food. The stomach muscles further mix the food. At the end of this process, the food you placed in your mouth has been transformed to a thick creamy fluid called chyme.

This thick fluid is then pushed into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). With the help of enzymes from the pancreas and bile from the liver, further breakdown of the food occurs in the small intestine.

The small intestine has three segments. The first segment is the duodenum where further breakdown of the food takes place. The next two parts of the small intestine (jejunum and ileum) are mostly responsible for the absorption of nutrients from the processed food into the bloodstream through the walls of the intestine.

Large Intestine

The large intestine is a long, thick tube about 2.5 inches in diameter and about 5 feet long. It is located just inferior to the stomach and wraps around the superior and lateral border of the small intestine. The large intestine absorbs water and contains many symbiotic bacteria that aid in the breaking down of wastes to extract some small amounts of nutrients. Feces in the large intestine exit the body through the anal canal.

Diseases of the digestive system

Many symptoms can signal problems with the GI tract, including: abdominal pain, blood in the stool, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, incontinence, nausea and vomiting and difficulty swallowing, according to the NIH.

Among the most widely known diseases of the digestive system is colon cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 51,783 Americans died from colon cancer in 2011 (the most recent year for available data). Excluding skin cancers, colon and rectal cancer, or colorectal cancer, is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society.

All the data shared in post was collected from different sources like Wikipedia and Google etc. for the purpose of knowledge.

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