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Merdeka.com – Like a factory, the body needs to get rid of waste after processing all the work of cells every day. Some human body wastes are in the form of gas, some are in solid form, and some are in liquid form. Getting rid of body waste is called excretion, and there are a number of different excretory organs in the human body.
Excretion is an important process in all living things, and it is one of the main ways the human body maintains homeostasis. Homeostasis is an automatic process and mechanism carried out by living things to maintain constant conditions so that their bodies can function normally, despite changes in the environment inside or outside the body.
Excretion also helps prevent damage to the body. Waste includes the by-products of metabolism, some of which are toxic, and other materials that are useless.
Some of the specific waste products that must be removed from the body include carbon dioxide from cellular respiration, ammonia and urea from protein catabolism, and uric acid from nucleic acid catabolism.
One of the excretory organs of the body is skin. So what is the function of the skin as a means of excretion specifically? Here merdeka.com summarizes from various sources of functions skin that needs to be known.
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The Function of the Skin as an Excretory Tool
The function of the skin as a means of excretion contains many layers. This layer of skin contains two types of glands; sweat glands and sebaceous glands.
Sweat glands function to produce sweat. Also, sweat is the secretion of this gland which contains NaCl, water, amino acids, and glucose. The secretions of the sebaceous glands are known as sebum and are a way to excrete excess fats such as sterols and waxes.
Other Skin Functions
The skin has many important functions, which include:
- Protection: the skin acts as a barrier to prevent bacteria, viruses and fungi from entering the body to cause infection. People suffering from severe burns have a very high risk of infection because the integrity of this vital barrier is compromised. This helps protect the underlying delicate tissue from mechanical and other injuries.
- The skin is an important part of the sensory system. It contains important receptors that are specialized for detecting touch, pressure, heat, cold, vibration and pain
- Skin is also very important to control our body temperature. This is a place to sweat, which helps to remove heat from the body. The skin also has many blood vessels. These blood vessels constrict (become narrower) when body temperature drops to help conserve heat, and dilate (become wider and increase blood flow) when body temperature rises to help release more heat through the skin.
- The skin helps prevent us from losing fluids because it is quite waterproof
- It protects against excessive exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays by producing a protective pigmentation called melanin
- The skin is also a storage place for fat
- The skin is involved in the synthesis of vitamin D, an essential vitamin obtained from sunlight
Other Excretory Organs
The liver has many major functions, including secreting bile for lipid digestion, synthesizing many proteins and other compounds, storing glycogen and other substances, and secreting endocrine hormones.
In addition to all these functions, the liver is a very important excretory organ. The liver breaks down many substances in the blood, including toxins. For example, the liver converts ammonia, the toxic by-product of protein catabolism, into urea, which is filtered from the blood by the kidneys and excreted in the urine.
The liver also secretes a protein in its bile, which is bilirubin, a byproduct of catabolized hemoglobin that forms when red blood cells die. Bile travels to the small intestine and is then excreted in the feces by the large intestine.
The lungs are part of the respiratory system, but they are also important excretory organs. They are responsible for the excretion of waste gases from the body.
The main waste gas released by the lungs is carbon dioxide, which is a waste product of cellular respiration in cells throughout the body. Carbon dioxide diffuses from the blood into the air in tiny air sacs called alveoli in the lungs. By removing carbon dioxide from the blood, the lungs help maintain acid-base homeostasis. In fact, it is the pH of the blood that controls the rate of breathing.
Water vapor is also taken up from the lungs and other organs of the respiratory tract as the exhaled air passes through its moist layer, and the water vapor is expelled along with carbon dioxide. Trace levels of some other waste gases are also emitted.
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The kidneys are often considered the main excretory organs. The main function of the kidneys is to remove excess water and waste from the bloodstream by producing a liquid waste known as urine.
The main structural and functional unit of the kidney is a small structure called the nephron. Nephron filter materials from the blood, return to the blood what is needed, and excrete the rest as urine.
The kidneys are organs of the urinary system, which also includes the ureters, bladder, and urethra, the organs that transport, store, and eliminate urine, respectively.
The large intestine is an important part of the digestive system and the last organ in the digestive tract. As an excretory organ, its main function is to remove solid waste that remains after digestion of food and to extract water from indigestible material in food waste.
The large intestine also collects waste from the rest of the body. Bile secreted into the digestive tract, for example, contains the waste product bilirubin from the liver. Bilirubin is the brown pigment that gives human feces its characteristic brown color.