Thursday, March 19, 2015

Some Basic Anatomy

About 12 years ago a doctor told me I had adrenal fatigue (which later became adrenal insufficiency). At the time, I knew the adrenal gland was responsible for producing adrenalin. Otherwise I was pretty clueless. It was actually only a few years ago that I learned I had two adrenal glands! For years I thought there was just one, on the right side of the body. I was embarrassed when I realized there's one on the left side of the body as well. 

Through the years I've had to learn a lot about the body. And I'm still learning. Just last week my mom mentioned maybe there was a problem with my adenoids. I laughed and said I didn't even know I had adenoids! =) 

Today I want to share some basic anatomy info. I'm definitely not an expert. In fact, what I don't know about anatomy is probably more than I do know about it. But I think a basic understanding can be helpful, especially when visiting doctors or trying new health treatments. 

So stay with me, and maybe you'll learn something. (Or feel free to correct me if I make a mistake.) =) Also, I looked for very simple charts to share here, ones that are uncluttered and easy to read. I hope they're helpful. Just keep in mind that this is basic info, not an extensive description. 

Internal organs - The chart below shows the basic internal organs. 

- heart is more or less in the middle with lungs on either side
- liver is on the right side, toward the back
- spleen is on the left side (kind of under the rib cage)
- stomach is above the belly button
- pancreas is mostly in the middle
- gallbladder is near the liver on the right side
- kidneys are on both sides, in the back
- appendix is on the right side, lower down
- large and small intestine look a little complicated, but food moves from the stomach into the small intestine, then into the large intestine, which follows a direction starting on the right side, going up and over and down on the left side.

Endocrine system - This chart shows the glands in the endocrine system.

- pineal gland, pituitary gland, and hypothalamus are located in the brain
- thyroid and parathyroid are on the sides of the neck, toward the back
- thymus gland is more or less in the middle of the chest 
- adrenal glands are on the right and left sides (they look a little high to me in this chart, but I could be wrong).

Lymphatic system - The lymphatic system is the body's natural detox system, made up of lymph nodes and vessels throughout the body. The lymph fluid doesn't have a 'heart' to pump it, so it relies on the motions of muscle and joint pumps. This is why regular lymphatic massage is so important. 

Obviously, we could also talk about the bones, spine, muscles, tissues, etc. But I think this is enough for one post. =) 

Just remember that everything in the body is connected and works together. For example, at my last physical therapy appointment, I was having a little difficulty breathing. My physical therapist said the left lung seemed to be the problem. But first she started working on the area of my large intestine, on the right side of my body. Gradually she worked up and across my torso, then she worked on my neck and shoulders. At the end of my appointment my left lung was much improved and I was breathing better. And I was very thankful for a wonderful physical therapist who understands how everything in the body is connected. 

P.S. In case you're still wondering, the adenoids are near the tonsils. I'm still not sure what they do, but maybe I'll find out and tell you in another post sometime. =) 

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