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What Are the Vital Organs?

By T. Carrier
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Without the body's vital organs, death would result. They provide essential functions for sustaining life, like respiration and blood flow. In human beings, five such vital organs exist: the heart, the brain, the lungs, the kidneys, and the liver. Medical maintenance of these structures is vital for overall good health.

The heart is the centerpiece of life. It is responsible for circulating needed materials throughout the body via blood. When the heart pumps blood, the fluid carries oxygen and nutrients that sustain all other body parts. Proper heart functioning is crucial to long-term health. For this reason, heart rate is a vital statistic measured by medical professionals.

Another vital statistic is respiration rate. Breathing, or the inhalation and exhalation of air, is a basic indicator of life. Once breathing desists, so does the life of the organism. Air intake and gas exchange are the primary responsibilities of the lungs, making them key organs.

In addition to a pair of lungs, each individual also has a pair of kidneys. Due to their role in body sanitation and balance, these structures represent vital organs as well. Blood moves into the kidneys where it is cleansed of waste products. This material is eventually expelled from the body through urine. The kidneys also produce hormones that aid in essential processes like blood cell formation, blood pressure regulation, and chemical balance.

Since individuals cannot survive long-term without a functioning liver, this structure is another vital organ. Its capabilities are diverse and are lynchpins for many bodily processes. For one, the liver stores sugars and vitamins and makes proteins and hormones, marking it as an important source of body metabolism. Further, it breaks down several substances, particularly toxic substances in the body. The organ also aids in digestion through the breakdown of fats via bile.

Arguably the most important of the vital organs, the brain serves as the body’s ultimate director. Familiarity with this organ’s role in thinking is commonplace. Humanity does owe its intellectual abilities to the brain, but the structure is responsible for much more. Without the main feature of the nervous system, nerves could not send and receive signals, and therefore organisms could not feel or even move. More crucial still, the brain’s impulses provide information that keeps other organs functional.

Some experts consider the pancreas a vital organ as well. Located behind the stomach, it is part of both the digestive and endocrine systems. It helps make many hormones like blood sugar-controlling insulin and glucagon. In digestive processes, the pancreas funnels substances into the small intestine that aid in the breakdown of fat, protein, and carbohydrates.

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Discussion Comments

By Chmander — On Feb 21, 2014
@RoyalSpyder - The reason is because the stomach is like a balloon. When you don't eat for long periods of time, it shrinks in size. Because of this, your it has a smaller capacity for the amount of food it can normally handle. For kids who grew up in starvation, it can be incredibly rough, and might even cause stomach problems in the long run. Don't forget that when you're at a young age, your organs are still growing, so what happens during childhood affects them greatly.

On another note, this is a great article that covers all the vital organs. In my opinion, there isn't one that's more vital than the other. All are essential to human life, and all function on a very important level.

By RoyalSpyder — On Feb 20, 2014
Though there are a lot of vital organs in the human body; the one that interests me the most is the stomach. Yes, I know it's not mentioned in the article, and though it's not "vital", it's still crucial nonetheless. It's basically the centerpiece where all the food we eat goes. In fact, you could even compare it to a garbage disposal. On another note, have you noticed that when you don't eat for long periods of time, you get full a lot faster? Does anyone know why this is? I know the answer, but I want to see if anyone else does.
By Viranty — On Feb 20, 2014

Until something happens to us directly, I feel that we sometimes fail to realize just how important our organs are. For example, when you're running, jogging, or even exercising on a day to day basis, do you stop to think about how much pressure you're putting on your heart? It's funny how we don't even realize these things until we get into an accident or injury, myself included.

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