How many of us dream of being an astronaut when were little? To float in space and explore the mysteries of the universe seems like the ultimate dream come true, but space travel and living in space isn’t all fun and games. Floating in space might give you the thrills but factors such as zero gravity and radiation tend to take a toll on your health, especially if the stay is for longer periods.

Astronauts who travel for space exploration are impacted in different physiological and mental ways. The key areas seriously affected by lengthy space flights are essentially the body mass and fluids, the cardiovascular system, the immune system, bones and the eyes. Every specific body part is affected by the conditions in space and as the duration of the space trip increases, recovery from long-term issues become even more difficult.

BODY MASS & FLUIDS

Body fluids are affected the most due to low gravity, which makes these fluids float up so your body feels bloated and heavy. Our bodies are 70% water and when there is no gravity, water tends to move upwards, increasing pressure in the head. The low orbit in space changes the fluid distribution of the body dramatically. To address the problem, astronauts usually make use of space gear with straps normally tied at the top of their legs.

CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM

Longer stays in space also lead to fluid loss, including reduction in blood plasma concentration. Plasma is a husk-colored liquid component of the blood containing platelets along with red and white blood cells. Studies reveal living in space contributes to a reduction in the amount of red blood cells in the body. This minimizes the amount of oxygen transported to the cells and reduces the cell’s ability to generate energy.

MUSCLES

The muscles are also seriously affected by spending prolonged time in space. Muscle atrophy is a probable concern due to microgravity in low orbit. Astronauts can lose about 25% of their aerobic ability in a space shuttle on a 14-day mission. This is why they need to take medical supplements and maintain a stringent dietary routine and exercise schedule while in space.

BONE MASS

A space study unraveled the implications of a lengthy space stay on bone mass where it was found that astronauts in the Mir Space Station experienced 1-2% of bone mass loss every month. Low bone density makes the bones weaker, leading to health problems like osteoporosis and difficulty in walking. Bone loss was the first issue reported by astronauts who had recently returned to Earth after their lengthy space stay.

PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS

Apart from physical implications, mental health is also affected in different ways depending on the duration of the space stay. Long-term exposure to radiation may impair the brain functionality permanently and stimulate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Motion sickness, balancing and disorientation are other common cognitive effects experienced by astronauts as they lose sense of the spatial points such as up and down. Some also experience the space 

adaptation syndrome or space sickness, involving nausea, vertigo and headaches.

PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS

Apart from physical implications, mental health is also affected in different ways depending on the duration of the space stay. Long-term exposure to radiation may impair the brain functionality permanently and stimulate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Motion sickness, balancing and disorientation are other common cognitive effects experienced by astronauts as they lose sense of the spatial points such as up and down. Some also experience the space  adaptation syndrome or space sickness, involving nausea, vertigo and headaches.

Although a trip to outer space sounds fun and adventurous, it does have some negative effects on your mind and body. NASA has enhanced the International Space Station’s life to perform additional medical research on the health implications of a longer stay in space. The healthcare industry has also come up with state-of-the-art testing procedures and measuring gadgets to further evaluate the changes in the body and mind as a result of long stays in zero gravity. These efforts will hopefully make space travel safer and minimize the underlying effects on health.

WP Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com