Enlarged Spleen (Splenomegaly); Symptoms and Causes

Most people don’t know much about the spleen. It is a silent organ that does not cause many problems unless you have severe trauma. It is fragile and bleeds very easily when fractured. It is also a very elastic organ and can be elongated many times its original size as a sign of some ailments.

The spleen has a role similar to the liver but has a different focus. It also detoxifies the blood, clearing it from debris. But the main focus of the spleen is red and white blood cells. When they are damaged, the liver detects defective units and destroys them.

The organ is very fragile and strategically located behind the ribs to prevent fractures, but splenomegaly can increase this risk, putting the patient’s life in danger in extreme cases.

What is Splenomegaly?

What is splenomegaly?

Splenomegaly is basically a swollen spleen that grows larger than usual. It is not by itself a disease. Instead, it is the physical manifestation of an underlying condition.

Both the weight and size of the organ increase, and its function may also become altered. As noted above, the spleen plays an important role in clearing old and defective blood cells from the blood. When blood cells are destroyed in different blood diseases, the remnants reach the spleen and will also be metabolized in this organ.

It is also essential for the immune system because the spleen synthesizes tuftsin and properdin, two important immune system peptides. It is a site of maturation of white blood cells and stores as much as one-third of circulating platelets.

The size and weight of the spleen depending on the patient’s size and weight. Taller and heavier individuals will have a larger spleen. The average measures are 12-20 centimeters long, and the average weight is 70-200 grams. When it reaches 400 or 500 grams, we are talking about splenomegaly. It will be massive splenomegaly when it reaches 1000 grams.

Written by Greg M. Wilcox

With a background in medical research, I'm dedicated to unraveling the complexities of health and nutrition in a way that's easy to understand and implement. From debunking myths to sharing science-backed insights, my goal is to guide you on a journey towards optimal well-being.