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Exploring the Excretory System Facts

By Edited Oct 18, 2015 0 0

It is a normal bodily process to eliminate wastes. In a day, a person would typically take bathroom breaks several times throughout the day. It is an often embarrassedly discussed topic, if ever talked about at all. There is nothing to be unnecessarily ashamed of however, as this is a perfectly normal and usual occurrence for everybody and no one is exempted.

The normal human body has eleven body systems that work together to keep it maintained and able to function as it should, throughout all the stresses of everyday life. An important body system that is often overlooked is known as the excretory system; it is sometimes confused with the urinary or renal system. One of the excretory system facts is: the totality of its function in the body encompasses the involvement of several organs that are technically included in specifically named systems. This is why it is not usually used in formal classifications of anatomy and physiology.

The key components in the discussion of the said body system are metabolism and homeostasis; these are part of excretory system facts. Metabolism is the totality of the life sustaining chemical changes that occur within cells of the body. Homeostasis on the other hand, is the state of balance that is required within the body's internal environment to keep it ably stable to support cell function. The body naturally uses the process of metabolism to keep it fueled as we perform daily tasks. As with any process that involves change, there are end products that get produced because of it. These products may be either beneficial or harmful to the body. The excretory system comes into play by acting on those products that are toxic to body cells. It does so by way of utilizing its component organs to remove them from the body. This excretion of toxins maintains homeostasis, which is vital if the body is to adequately function at cell level to keep the organism alive.

Exploring the Excretory System Facts

One of the better known excretory system facts in simply put terms is that it is the body system whose main purpose is to collect all the bodily wastes and as its name implies, excrete it safely out of the body. It is essentially getting rid of the toxins that are act as poisons that could cause the body harm if left to accumulate. This system can be called the "garbage disposal" management unit of the body. These toxins are waste products produced by the metabolism, as well as other liquid and gaseous wastes in the form of urine, components of sweat, and exhaled gases during respiration.

Excretory system facts would naturally include organs and systems based on their waste management functions. And these are the following: the urinary system, liver, skin, lungs, eccrine or sweat glands, large intestines, and gall bladder. Note that the mentioned organs are included in other systems according to formal classification. They are merely mentioned as parts of the excretory system by specific functions that relate to body waste excretion.

The lungs excrete waste naturally during respiration. Upon exhalation, the outward movement of air from the lungs, carbon dioxide is released which is a waste product.

Sweating may help in waste excretion as well, although minimally, as sweat is comprised of water, salt, and other possibly toxic substances. The eccrine or sweat glands found throughout the body produce sweat that is then released through the skin's pores.

The liver is a major organ that is involved in the body's detoxification process. It breaks down chemicals, toxins, poisons, and other harmful substances. The liver metabolizes ammonia, a toxic chemical, into urea which is then filtered in the kidneys into urine. It also produces bile, which is stored in the gall bladder. Bile breaks down fatty substances into usable fat, and waste fat.

Large intestines are where solid wastes are collected. The food that one takes in eventually ends up here, where they are further digested. The intestines extract the remaining usable water from the partially digested food, and the solid waste that is left will be eliminated as feces through the anus.

The urinary system takes is big portion that forms the body of information related to excretory system facts. It is comprised by organs that are essential to urine formation. These organs are: two kidneys, a pair of ureters, the urinary bladder and the urethra.

Kidneys are twin, bean shaped organs placed in the abdominal cavity, flanking the vertebral column. Its main blood supply is by way of the renal artery. Its primary function is to remove nitrogenous by products from the blood stream, such as urea and some salt formations for example, along with any excess fluids in the form of water. This mixture of wastes and water constitutes urine, which is eliminated through micturation or urination. The basic structural and functional unit of the kidney is called a nephron, which is found in the millions. These nephrons act as tiny filters that separate the beneficial materials form waste products. The good materials go back to the blood stream while the waste becomes a part of the urine.

From the kidneys, the urine produced goes down two muscular tubes called ureters. The urine is propelled from the kidneys, through the ureters, to be stored in the urinary bladder. In a normal human adult, ureters are usually twenty five to thirty centimeters or ten to twelve inches long. The backflow of urine is prevented by tiny valves that keep the urine flowing downwards to the bladder.

In the urinary bladder, as was previously mentioned, urine is stored until it is eventually excreted by urination. It is a hollow, muscular, elastic organ that can comfortably store up to two cups of urine or approximately six hundred milliliters of fluid. When the bladder muscles contract, this forces the urine down another tube called the urethra, which would eventually lead outside the body.

Some random, interesting, lesser known excretory system facts include the following. Read on:
  • The kidneys are not completely symmetrical; the right kidney sits lower than the left one in the abdominal cavity.
  • A person can still live and function capably with only one kidney.
  • Every day, the kidneys filter all the body's blood for four hundred times.
  • The kidney is capable of filtering and cleaning more than one million gallons of water in a lifetime, enough to be a small sized lake.
  • When the urinary bladder is empty, it collapses but when it is again filled with urine, it enlarges to accommodate the liquid.
  • The human bladder can expand to grow as big as the brain.
  • During one complete lifetime, a normal adult person can excrete up to 7,850,000,000,000 gallons of urine.
  • The average person urinates about three thousand times and defecates about three hundred five pounds of feces a year.
  • A component of urine, urea, can be used as a source of nitrogen for plants. Urea is a common component of plant fertilizers; diluted urine can be used as an alternative.
  • An average adult person breathes up to 6,286,920 times in a given year and sheds about three to four thousand skin cells per minute.
  • An adult's intestine measures of about eight and a half meters long.
  • The liver of an average normal human adult, which is commonly rubbery to the touch, weighs of about three pounds.
  • The newly produced is sterile, which means it is clean and free of microorganisms. It only becomes bacteria infested when it comes in contact with air outside of the body.


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