Spleen is found in almost all vertebrate animals. It is a very small organ, somewhat of the shape of your fist. It is located in the left side of your upper abdominal cavity, behind the stomach and very near to the left kidney. You cannot see or feel it as it is covered with cage of your ribs. Although its size and weight differ in every individual, normally it measures around 4 inches and weighs approximately 0.44 lbs in an adult. But when the spleen is affected with any infection, its size increases, which may create serious problems. Enlarged spleen is also known as splenomegaly. Diseases like malaria can also result in enlarged spleen.
Structure of the Spleen
Spleen is covered with a tough connective tissue capsule. Inside this capsule, there are two types of splenic tissues namely red pulp and white pulp. White pulp is made up of lymphoid tissue such as plasma cells, lymphocytes, and lymphatic nodules, etc. and red pulp is full of blood. This red pulp is responsible for the blood filtration. The two types of pulp are distributed evenly in all the areas of spleen but both have different functions to perform. Blood enters spleen through the splenic artery.
Functions of the Spleen
Spleen is one of the most important parts of our body. It is associated with many significant functions without which the survival of our body can be in danger. It has multiple functions and as it is a very small organ, it is always busy with the work it is assigned to. Following are some of the spleen functions.
- The most important function of the spleen is to destroy the old red blood cells. This is done in the red pulp. The blood passes through and the cells which are old enough i.e. are about to complete their life span of 120 days, are destroyed. The important element of the red blood cell which is iron, is saved by spleen and is send to the bone marrow for the formation of new blood cells.
- Now comes the work of white pulp. We have discussed in the structure of spleen that white pulp is made up of plasma cells, lymphocytes, lymphatic nodules, etc. They combine and help the immune system of the body. They react with the microorganism present in the blood and form antibodies or phagocytic cells which destroy the microorganism and purify the blood. This saves us from further infection and diseases.
- Apart from these two important functions spleen also helps in the removal of damaged and worn off platelets from the blood.
- Spleen is although associated with the destruction of blood cells but at the time of emergency like accidents or bad cuts, they provide blood to the body. This is also a very important function of spleen.
- When the baby is inside the womb, spleen is responsible for the formations of blood, but once the baby is born this function is transferred to the bone marrow. Hence this can also be included in the function of spleen.
Although spleen plays a very important role in the body, a person can also survive without a spleen. Sometimes, due to a spleen injury or accident, doctor might go for spleen removal. This can make you susceptible to infections but this doesn't mean you can't survive without a spleen. Your body will just need extra care in this situation and medical attention too. I hope, this article have not only solved your query about where is your spleen located but have also informed you about the structure and function of the spleen.