Dr. Arvind M. Dhople: Body Miracles All In A Day’s Work
By Arvind M. Dhople, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Florida Tech // January 31, 2016
SPACE COAST DAILY HEALTH SPOTLIGHT
EDITOR’S NOTE: We are delighted to once again welcome Arvind M. Dhople, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Florida Tech as a guest columnist. His compilation of facts about our body’s everyday processes and changes is fascinating and thought provoking, and provides a new appreciation for the marvelous wonder of the human creation.
– Dr. Jim Palermo, Editor-in-Chief
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA — Sometimes you may feel like your body is beginning to creak and fail you on the outside, but do you ever stop to consider the incredible work that is taking place inside of it?
There is so much going on and everything fits together so well that it’s almost impossible to comprehend it.
These scientific facts will remind you that there are miracles going on inside your body every single day.
Your heart pumps approximately 2,000 gallons (7571 liters) of blood through its chambers every single day. It beats more than 100,000 times a day to achieve this incredible feat.
You take around 17,000 breaths a day on average, and don’t have to think about a single one of them.
Yet if you want to stop breathing temporarily, you can voluntarily hold your breath. A typical pair of adult lungs can hold a huge six liters of air.
Every day your body ensures you don’t contract cancer thousands of times over. Cancer is formed when cells are altered in a way which re-programs their DNA, and it’s estimated that tens of thousands of cells suffer cancer-causing lesions every day.
But the body sends special enzymes scuttling around to inspect DNA strands for faults and fix them before they turn into tumors.
Your brain doesn’t stop working. It’s estimated that about 50,000 thoughts pass through it each day on average, although some scientists put the figure closer to 60,000. That is a whopping 35-42 thoughts every minute.
The cells in your stomach lining produce an alkaline substance every few milliseconds to neutralize stomach acid. If they don’t do this, your stomach would digest itself because some of the acids are strong enough to dissolve metals.
You blink about 28,000 times every day, with each one lasting just a tenth of a second. This is a voluntary reflex the body uses to keep the eyes clean and moist, which is pretty crucial given that 90 percent of the information you process is visual.
Considering that you can focus on any visual scene in just 0.01 second, the number of people and objects you look at every day is remarkable!
Most of the body’s energy is expelled via heat. Your body produces the same heat as 120 watts light bulb over the course of a single day.
Red blood cells literally shoot around the body, taking less than 60 seconds to complete a full circuit. This means that each of yours makes 1,440 trips around your body every day, delivering oxygen and keeping your body energized.
Each cell lives for about 40 days before being replaced by a younger model. It’s no surprise their life span is shorter, having made 60,000 trips around the body, they must be exhausted!
You shed more than 1 million skin cells every single day but they are constantly replenished automatically to save you from turning transparent and becoming rather exposed! Your skin is actually an organ. In fact, it’s the largest organ you have, with a surface area of 18 sq. feet (2 sq. meters).
Your hair (if you still have any) grows about half a millimeter per day, and the average adult with a full head of hair has around 100,000 hairs on their head. So that’s a combined 50 meters of hair growth every single day.
The brain and mouth work together to allow us to speak an average of around 5,000 words a day. Well, that’s if you’re a woman, because studies suggest that men only speak 2,000 words.
However, both sexes utter 500-700 words of real value (i. e. that get a job done, or provide useful information). Will the women out there have something to say about this estimation?
Your liver is working overtime over the course of a day, and it is almost impossible to summarize its activities.
It manufactures cholesterol, vitamin D and blood plasma; it identifies the nutrients your body needs, and stores some away for future use; it filters 1.53 quarts (1.43 liters) of blood every minute and produces a quart (0.94 liters) of bile every day to help you break down your food. Basically, you have a biochemical factory running inside of you every day, which is pretty amazing!
The glands of your mouth produce an incredible 1.5 liters of saliva every day. That’s a lot of drool and dribble! If this didn’t happen, your mouth would dry up and become overrun with bacteria, and you wouldn’t be able to digest your food.
The average male’s testicles manufacture 10 million new sperm cells every day. Those that aren’t used age and are eventually broken down inside the body, with any useful nutrients being absorbed and put to use.
Each of your kidneys contain 1 million tiny filters that work together to filter an average of 2.2 pints (1.3 liters) of blood every minute – that’s 3,168 pints (1,872 liters) every single day, despite each kidney only being the size of a fist. If that wasn’t enough, they also expel an average of 2.5 pints (1.4 litters) of urine from your body every day.
You grow 8 millimeters every night while sleeping. However, we shrink back down the next day because, during normal activities during the day, the cartilage in our knees and other areas slowly compress.
This saves you from some pretty hefty clothing bills and ensures you don’t have to raise the door frames every year or two.
Your body works over time to digest your food and the process starts before it even hits the mouth.
When you smell food your mouth automatically produces more saliva to prepare the digestive system for work. It takes about 6-8 hours for food to pass through the stomach and two days to complete the digestive process. The average person will eat over 50 tons of food in his or her lifetime, which seems ridiculous.
And most amazing of all, your body cells are regenerating themselves every single day without any prompting. This means you have an entirely new set of taste buds every ten days, new nails every 6-10 months, new bones every ten years and a new heart every 20 years.
So next time you think that your body is starting to creak, just think about all the incredible things that are happening inside it every day, because all of us really are a miracle!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Arvind Dhople graduated from the University of Bombay and then joined Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, first as a post- doctoral fellow and then Asst. Professor. In 1980, he joined Florida Tech as a Professor and Director of their Infectious Diseases Lab. His specialty is microbial biochemistry and he performed research in leprosy and tuberculosis. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology and has published nearly 150 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He has also served as an advisor to the World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health, German Leprosy Relief Association, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Currently, he is Professor Emeritus at Florida Tech and a free-lance writer.