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The Digestive System And Achalasia Essay

2342 words - 10 pages

The digestive system is made up of the digestive tract and other organs that help the body break down and absorb food (National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, 2012). All of these organs have specific “jobs” they do to keep the digestive system functioning properly. There are many things that can prohibit the system from functioning at its optimal level. Some of these problems can be avoided, while others such as diseases and disorders may be acquired genetically.
The organs that make up the digestive tract are the esophagus, mouth, stomach, small intestine, large intestine or colon, rectum, and anus. These are sometimes referred to as “hollow” organs. Inside these organs is a lining called the mucus membrane or mucosa. In the mouth, stomach, and small intestine, the mucus membrane contains tiny glands that produce juices to aid in digesting food (National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, 2012). The digestive tract also contains a layer of smooth muscle that helps break down food and move it along the tract. The liver and pancreas, also referred to as “solid” digestive organs, produce digestive juices that reach the intestine through small tubes called ducts. The gallbladder stores the liver's digestive juices until they are needed in the intestine (National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, 2012). Digestion involves mixing food with digestive juices, moving it through the digestive tract, and breaking food into smaller molecules. Digestion begins in the mouth and is completed in the small intestine. The first major muscle movement is when food or liquid is swallowed. Swallowed food is pushed into the esophagus (National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, 2012). Where the esophagus and stomach meet, there is a ring like muscle, called the lower esophageal sphincter, which, closes the passage between the two organs. As food moves towards the closed sphincter, it relaxes and allows food to pass through to the stomach. The stomach has three tasks. It stores the swallowed food and liquid, mixes up the food, liquid, and digestive juice, and empties its contents slowly into the small intestine. As the food dissolves into the juices from the intestine, pancreas, and liver, the contents are mixed and pushed forward for further digestion (National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, 2012). Lastly, the digested nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal walls and transported throughout the body. The waste products of this process are pushed into the colon, where they remain until a bowel movement is produced (National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, 2012).
Your digestive system extracts the nutrients from food and absorbs them into your body. If the digestive system is not functioning properly, you may end up with constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas and/or bloating, or anemia. Constipation is infrequent or incomplete bowel movements, stool is usually hard and difficult to...

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