Our bodies are amazing machines, but how much do you know about them? Dr. Melissa Lem puts us to the test with this true or false quiz!
1. You have the same number of neck bones as a giraffe.
True! Unbelievably, humans and giraffes both have seven neck bones or cervical vertebrae, along with every other mammal except for sloths and manatees. The difference is that a human neck bone is about half an inch tall, while a giraffe's is up to 10 inches tall. Your cervical vertebrae have three extremely important roles: to support your heavy head, which weighs in at over 10 pounds, to protect your delicate spinal cord, and to help direct blood flow to the brain. So respect the neck!
2. You're most likely to have a heart attack on a Saturday night.
False! Monday morning is actually the prime time for heart attacks. Not only are you 20 percent more likely to have a heart attack on a Monday, but you're 40 percent more likely to have one between 6 a.m. and noon. Culprits include the stress of moving from weekend to work mode, as well as a natural morning spike in the hormone cortisol. This causes increased heart rate, higher blood pressure and stickier blood.
To prevent a cardiac catastrophe, people with high blood pressure should consider taking some of their medications in the evening so the effects haven't worn off by the morning. Also, be sure to manage your stress levels so you're not a basket case when you wake up for work on Monday morning!
3. You can grow a whole new liver if you damage it.
True! The liver is the only organ in your body that can regenerate itself. As little as 25 percent of it can grow back to its original size and function within a few short months! What's more, your incredible liver is a jack-of-all-trades that does over 500 jobs; not only is it on detox duty, it also helps regulate your sugar and cholesterol levels and fight off infections.
Although your liver's one tough cookie, there is a point of no return. So protect it by drinking responsibly, getting immunized against hepatitis and talking to your doctor before mixing medications or supplements.
4. When you blush your stomach lining also turns red.
True! Even though the acid in your stomach is strong enough to dissolve razor blades, your gut does have a softer side. Blushing happens when a surge of adrenaline caused by anxiety or embarrassment makes tiny blood vessels called capillaries widen all over your body, increasing blood flow. This is especially obvious in your cheeks and stomach lining because they're close to the surface here. If your pink cheeks are wreaking havoc on your confidence, relaxation techniques and medications can help, or even surgery. But blushers take heart: studies show that others tend to view you as more trustworthy and likeable!
5. One kidney is just as good as two.
True and false! Your hard-working kidneys filter a bathtub full of liquid per day from your bloodstream and release about two litres of concentrated toxins to your bladder, on top of other functions like regulating your blood pressure and acid-base balance. If you lose or donate a kidney, your remaining one can double up its workload, meaning people with one healthy kidney typically have the same lifespan as people with two!
That said, if you only have one you don't have a backup. So keep those remarkable kidneys in tip-top shape by staying well hydrated and watching your cardiovascular risk factors. A healthy heart usually means healthy kidneys. Aren't our bodies amazing?