Mind Candy

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5 things your body does that can kill you

Posted by mandyf on January 7, 2012

The human body is an amazing thing. What many people forget is the human body is also a ticking time bomb. That isn’t a reference to people snapping and going postal, it means what it says almost literally. The human body has certain automatic functions that people have no control over that can kill you – or at the very least mess you up really bad. People shouldn’t live in fear of these things, they are just really cool to be aware of. If you are they type of person that is constantly paranoid or you are prone to nightmares over things you can’t control, maybe consider skipping the remainder of this article – it’s a killer.

Everyone yawns at some point, in fact there is a study that suggests if the word yawn is used enough in this article at some point the majority of the people reading it will yawn. Nobody really every thinks of something as simple as yawn being dangerous though.  A yawn is a simple process, but the part we are concerned with here is solely focused on the opening of the mouth.

If the ligaments holding the jaw in place are loose, a yawn could lead to tempromandibular dislocation. What that means is if you ever saw a zombie movie where one of the walking dead has a jaw that sags affixing the mouth in a permanent agape shocked/horrified look – well that’s what you’d look like – aside for the total rotting corpse thing. Odds are this will not kill you even if it happens, but them again it might.

People are well aware that sleeping too little can have dire consequences, but did you know sleeping too much can be just as bad? According to a British study that is the real deal and bad news for a lot of professional couch surfers that can’t imagine not getting their good 10-15 hour sleep day. Actually sleeping more than seven hours a day is cited as problem. What kind of problem you wonder – well how about death as a problem. Is that problem enough?

What the study found is that sleeping even an hour or two under or over the magic seven hour number on a regular basis doubles your odds of dying within the next 11-17 years, and this was not based on study conducted on a lot of people in their Centrum Silver years – it focused on younger people specifically. That’s pretty freaky stuff, and this was a test that was repeated and came up with the same conclusion so it wasn’t a simple anomaly. It makes you think twice about how good a friend the snooze button is.

You cannot avoid sneezing, it’s the way the body keeps itself clean by getting rid of those dirty nasty boogers and mucus filled with gunk that you don’t need. Did you know a sneeze could kill though? It’s not an old wives tale, it’s why people say “Bless you” when you sneeze – you just had a potential near death experience and didn’t know it. Granted, death by sneeze is not an epidemic problem, but it happens often enough it should be pretty common knowledge.

The most common dangers of the sneeze are far less scary, but they will still jack you up in a heartbeat. You could break a rib when sneezing, trigger a heart attack, burst an eardrum, or even slip a disc. This isn’t the type of thing that just happens to grandma, it happens to professional athletes in their prime, construction workers, soldiers, and regular ordinary health nuts and slobs alike. It doesn’t discriminate on any basis. Think about that the next time you feel that twitch and tickle in your nose.

Coughing is like the less attractive stepsister of sneezing. Nobody says “Bless you” when you cough but they probably should because a good cough can drop you like a bag of dirt. You don’t even have to go into a Doc Holliday style hacking, wheezing fit for it to be deadly – just one cough can do it. What is weird about a cough is that it is one of those processes that is designed to protect the body, but in doing so it also sets in place other protective measures. These protective measures can lead you to suffocating yourself because a cough triggers the same response as a choking threat by shutting off your airways.

That’s the extreme danger – and really rare, but a cough can mess you up in other far more common ways – so common they are cited as common cough related injuries. These are fun things like rib fractures, broken ribs, abdominal herniation, a ripped diaphragm, or leaking torso which is really gnarly but sounds cool in a twisted horror film way. What is really cool – unless it is you in the equation – is a really good cough can cause all of these things at one time!

Dropping the kids off at the pool can be deadly – just ask the King of Rock n’Roll whose autopsy states the cause of death as “Strained at stool.” Actually death by straining at stool is wicked rare, but there are some far less rare things that can shut your entire happy zone groin region down. If you have a weak stomach do not visit the supporting links – there are pictures and you may just hurl – which is something else that can mess you up.

A few things that can happen when evacuating your bowels that fall short of the death sentence include diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, and rectal prolapse. Hemorrhoids are something most everyone knows pretty well – or eventually will – but diverticulitis is pretty cool – in a medical sense. That is where pockets of your small intestine become filled with blood. If they become too full they can burst. If that happens your stool gets all filled up with blood, your blood fills with stool, and you turn into an oozing human bacteria frappe – hold the foam. Rectal prolapse…now that’s just nasty…

Rectal prolapse is a weakening of the ligaments that hold together your intestines. It doesn’t sound bad until it happens to you and suddenly your intestines are hanging out of your butt. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. How do you avoid it? You can’t really, if it your ligaments are weak they just are and you won’t know until something starts poking out or it’s discovered incidentally during an examination – which unfortunately means the process is underway. The best advice is don’t push so hard. Take a magazine with you, do a crossword – anything – just take it slow when you’re dropping a deuce and let the dookie dictate the pace.

The odds are nothing on this list will kill you, and the injuries that can come from them are just a part of life. Don’t live in fear of them, but do be aware of them.

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