Author. Part-time doc. Salt-lover. Geek-girl. Hyphen addict. I am represented by Eric Myers of the Spieler Agency, and my YA sci-fi novel, CONTROL (Dial/Penguin), is available online and in bookstores now. The sequel CATALYST with Kathy Dawson Books/Penguin arrives Fall 2014.
Medical Mondays: Your Lonely Spleen and an Interview!
First up, the very sweet Lisa Gail Green at Paranormal Point of View is posting about yours truly today! So if you want to learn some random factoids about me, go check it out!
And on to today's Medical Monday question. Clara at Pinches of Madness is looking to give one of her characters a hard time! She asks:
What are the symptoms of a ruptured spleen? I've checked the web and I saw that it causes blurry vision, lightheadness, but also quick heart pacing as well as abdominal and shoulder pain. Is this correct?
Aruptured spleen is often seen in blunt trauma to the abdomen, especially the left upper belly area just under the ribs, where the spleen lives. People with large spleens (because of certain blood cancers or anemias, for instance) have a bigger risk of traumatizing their spleens.
The symptoms of a ruptured spleen are:
-abdominal pain in the left upper belly area
-pain in the left shoulder (this is called "referred" pain, similar to why people having heart attacks have pain in the left arm...will need to do a whole post on this later, I think!)
-symptoms related to bleeding internally from the ruptured organ. Bleeding steals blood from your blood vessels. As a result, you don't get enough blood supply to your head, causing dizziness, blurry vision or a darkening sensation of your vision, which happens before you pass out. Your heart compensates by pumping faster, and thus you may feel like your heart is racing.
A few other questions may pop up from all this spleen talk, so I thought I'd head them off.
Can you live without a spleen?
Yes, you can. But you will be susceptible to certain kinds of bacterial infections (some very severe and life threatening) and would need special vaccines if you lost your spleen.
What the heck does a spleen do besides take up bodily space, like an uninvited house guest?
Ah, the hopelessly under-appreciated spleen. Here, have a hug. (*squish*). Okay. The spleen does more work than a loafing guest. It clears away old and dying red blood cells, and it's a bit of a garbage collector. Bacteria that have already been "marked" by your immune system for death are picked up here and disposed of. Other cells coated with antibodies are also removed here.
Hope you found this interesting, and everyone with a spleen, please pat your upper left belly and say thanks to a rather under-appreciated chunk of your body.
Please keep in mind this post is for writing purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice! (See sidebar disclaimer)
If you've got a fictional medical question, let me know! Post below or email me at
All I ask in return is that you become a follower of my blog and post a link on your blog when I post. Easy peasy.
Also, don't forget to check out Mental Health Mondays at Laura's Blog!
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