It may come as a surprise to discover that there are eleven organ systems in the human body, as most people think of organs as the liver, heart, lungs, kindneys and possibly the skin. However, the human organ system is much more complex than that, and the different components work as a team to keep the body healthy.
The term for this process is homeostasis - a perfectly balanced state where everything works as it should. While the body may be able to maintain healthy function if there is a problem with an individual organ, the shutdown of a complete organ system can compromise overall health and even threaten survival. Briefly, these are the human organ systems and their various functions.
While the medical term may be unfamiliar, the integumentary system is the most visible and familiar of the organ systems. It's comprised of the skin and other external body covering components such as hair, fingernails and toenails. The name comes from the Latin verb 'integere,' meaning 'to cover.'
Basically, it's what keeps body and possibly soul - together. The skin is the largest single body organ, so it follows that the integumentary system is the largest and one of the most important organ systems. Its main function is to protect the body from harm by injury and infection, by providing a waterproof shield against harmful elements of the outside world. It also assists in regulating body temperature by providing insulation in the form of body fat, and guarding against dehydration. Sensations are also felt through the skin.
This is the framework which provides support, structure and shape to the body. It's where the organs attach themselves, and it's also where essential minerals and fats are stored, and where blood cells are formed. The skeletal systemis comprised of bones, tendons cartilage and ligaments - the organs that make movement possible.
This organ system is also involved with movement - direct, visible movements of the body, and the transition of various substances through the body's organs. The muscular system also influences posture heat production within the body - thermogenesis. Unsurprisingly, the organs in this system are muscles, which include skeletal muscles, smooth muscle mass, and the most important muscle of all - the cardiac muscle, which ensures the effective function of the heart.
One of the most complex of the organ systems, the nervous system is the body's messenger service for all sorts of impulses and responses. The main organs are the brain and spinal chord, along with the eyes, ears and other nerves and sensory organs connected with taste and smell. The nervous system is involved in many of the body's functions, and because it is so sophisticated, it is also prone to a number of disorders.
This is the hormone command central, and it's involved in many of the body's chemical processes. The component organs are glands such as the pituitary gland, pancreas, thryroid gland, adrenal gland, and reproductive organs such as the ovaries and testicles. The hypothalmus gland - located in the brain - is an important part of the endocrine system which links with the nervous system.
Comprised mainly of the heart, blood vessels and blood, the circulatory system pumps blood throughout the body. Simultaneously, it moves gases, nutrients and bodily waste products around the body in a two-way process. If muscles need oxygen, it's delivered, and if waste products such as carbon dioxide need to be removed, that happens as well.
Also known as the immune system, this is the body's defence system against bacterial invaders and other unwelcome visitors. The lymphatic system also helps to regulate fluid levels in the body and helps with the work of the digestive system. The main organs include the lymph nodes, the spleen and the tonsils.
Comprising the lungs, the nose and the airways in the upper body such as the laryn and the trachea, the respiratory system is vital to life, as it is concerned with breathing and the inhalation of oxygen and expulsion of carbon dioxide. Technically, the respiratory system is a process which consists of the exchange of gases between the blood and the external environment, and it is one of the most vital organ system functions.
This organ system is concerned with the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients. It also transports food through the gastrointestinal tract and removes food waste from the body. The main organs of the digestive system are the mouth, stomach, intestines and rectum, although a number of other organs also play a part in the digestive process.
This system is important to overall health, as it maintains the body's fluid balance by removing excess water and waste products. The urinary system also helps in the production of red blood cells, and the metabolism of vitamin D in the body. Major organs are the kidneys, bladder and urethra.
The function of the reproductive system is self-explanatory - it's how babies are made, and how the human race is perpetuated. Male and female reproductive organs are mainly located in the genital area, as well as the uterus, ovaries and mammary glands in females.