When a car starts to get old, its parts begin to malfunction. Many of the symptoms of a breaking down car are obvious to the driver, but sometimes, only a mechanic will know the true cause.
The same is true of our bodies. Sometimes our bodies start to break down and we know exactly why, but other times, the symptoms and causes of our malfunctioning organism aren’t so clear.
Here are 20 bizarre ways that our body can break down, some for obvious reasons, and some for not so obvious reasons that even physicians may be hard pressed to diagnose.
1. Disseminated intravascular coagulation
This is worse than finding sand in your gas tank. This condition is a result of massive trauma or infection and has the effect of causing blood to coagulate in arteries throughout the body. In some instances, the chemicals that cause clotting are used up, and massive internal or external bleeding may occur.
2. Barrett’s Esophagus
When you don’t change the water in your radiator, your cooling system can get all clogged up. Barrett’s esophagus is what happens when your get too much acid reflux in your throat. The cells in the esophagus start to corrode, and are replaced with cells that are normally found in your stomach. This condition is considered to be a precursor to esophageal cancer.
When your windshield is pitted or cracked, you can’t see well enough to drive. Keratoconus is a degenerative condition of the cornea that makes it difficult to see. The cornea assumes a cone shape that doesn’t allow images to focus correctly on the retina. This condition sometimes requires a cornea transplant, which is a lot more costly than a new windshield.
4. Peyronie’s Disease
Have you ever had a crooked dipstick that makes it hard to check your motor oil? Peyronie’s disease is a fibrosis of the penis that causes it to be crooked. Some cases are so severe that intercourse is nearly impossible. The condition is difficult to treat, but fortunately, it sometimes responds to physical therapy. In the case of car, most people would just choose to get a new dipstick.
Sometimes our significant other will nag, “The car is broken, the car is broken, the car is broken.” It turns out they might be suffering from palilalia, which is the tendency to repeat phrases over and over like a parrot. The disorder can result from several psychiatric disorders, or from brain trauma.
Leaving a car out in the sun year after year will result in dimpling or fading of the paint. Acne rosacea is a chronic skin condition that is exacerbated by sun exposure. The condition resembles acne with small pimples except there is an associated reddening of the skin due to inflammation of skin blood vessels. The condition will respond to some types of antibiotics and other creams, unlike a ruined paint job on your cherry red Porsche.
A burst radiator hose can leave a mess of antifreeze in your garage. Hypospadias can leave a mess in your bathroom. In this condition, there is a hole in the urethra on the underside of the penis, sometimes causing urine to spray out. Some men find it easier to sit on the toilet to avoid this from happening. The defect is usually curable through surgery if it is diagnosed as a newborn.
8. Squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue
Spilling too much vodka on your car’s new upholstery isn’t a good idea, nor is smoking too many cigarettes good for the interior of your car. The same is true for your tongue. Squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue is one of the more common types of mouth cancer that can occur, and is one of the most disfiguring and potentially deadly. Smoking and drinking alcohol have a combined effect that make this cancer much more likely.
A hole in your fuel line will leak precious gas from your system and keep your car from running correctly. Hematemesis is the vomiting of our own precious life blood from our system. Vomiting red blood is a sign of an active bleed somewhere in the upper digestive tract such as the stomach or the esophagus. A doctor will use a scope to visualize the tract to find the source of the leakage of blood. A massive leak can empty our blood reservoir, and we all know what happens when a car runs out of gas.
A malfunctioning car might spew gas out the exhaust pipe. A malfunctioning digestive system will sometimes spew blood out our exhaust pipe. Hematochezia, or defecating blood, usually means that bleeding is occurring in the lower digestive tract, somewhere in the intestines, colon, or the anus. Colon cancer is a common cause, but there may be other reasons as well. Once again, the doctor will use a scope to detect the source of the bleeding.
In a severely malfunctioning car, motor oil can sometimes get mixed with the radiator coolant, causing havoc in the engine. Hematuria is when blood is found in the urine. Blood cells can leak through the membranes in a malfunctioning kidney, or there may be lesions, kidney stones, or infections along the ureters that lead from the kidneys. Blood in the urine is never normal and the doctor will run a battery of tests to find the source of the bleeding. A urinalysis might show signs of infection, or a CAT scan or ultrasound might find kidney stones in the ureters leading from the kidneys.
12. Necrotizing fasciitis
In the snowy Midwest, cars used to rust so fast from road salt that there would be nothing left but four tires and the seats. Necrotizing fasciitis is caused by a bacteria that literally eats its way through the body like rapidly spreading rust. The disease is also known as flesh eating bacteria. Most cases are found in people with compromised immune systems due to illnesses or cancer, but rare cases occur in healthy individuals. Just like a rust spot, sometimes the only way to get rid of the infection is to remove it entirely. The bacteria that cause this bodily malfunction are often resistant to antibiotics.
13. Aortic rupture
Sometimes the wheels will simply fall off an old car, with catastrophic results. Aortic rupture is a catastrophic rupture of the main artery that leads out of the heart. Without radical surgical intervention, it is nearly always fatal. Aortic rupture can be caused by trauma, or through the rupture of aneurysms in the aorta.
Meningitis is akin to getting the computer wires wet in your car. None of the central control features that make the car function normally will work. Meningitis is when the protective lining around the spinal cord and brain becomes infected and swells. Symptoms will be a severe headache, fever, and body aches that are similar to a terrible case of the flu. If the infection is left untreated, organs vital for life such as the lungs and heart can malfunction. A physician will take a sample of cerebrospinal fluid to diagnose this dangerous condition.
When you don’t wash your car, it won’t shine like it used to. Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin caused when the liver doesn’t wash the toxins out of our bodies. When the liver malfunctions, by-products can build up in our bloodstream and begin to be deposited in our skin and the whites of our eyes, tinting them yellow. Jaundice is a sign that the liver isn’t working correctly due to ingesting too much alcohol, infections like hepatitis, cancer of the liver, or problems with the bile secretion ducts that leave from the liver and go to the gallbladder.
Having two flat tires on one side of your car won’t let it respond the way it should. Hemiparesis is a paralysis on one side of the body. This usually results from some kind of trauma to the brain, spinal cord, or a lack of bloodflow to the brain called a stroke. Depending on how severe the injury is to the nervous system, the body may recuperate part of its functioning. However, in severe cases the paralysis can be permanent.
17. Brainerd Diarrhea
Imagine the smoke and noise coming out your exhaust if you put diesel fuel in your tank instead of regular gas. Brainerd diarrhea is form of unusually violent and gaseous diarrhea that can afflict people after eating contaminated dairy products. It doesn’t respond well to antibiotics, but usually self corrects after several weeks or months.
When you don’t have enough money for gas, you might be tempted to put something else less expensive in your tank. Some people who do not ingest enough iron develop an appetite for clay, chalk, paint or even dirt, as a compensatory mechanism. Other psychological factors may be a cause of pica as well. But if you get a craving for a mud pie, check your iron levels.
When the dimmer switch on your car malfunctions, you can end up driving around with your brights on. Mastitis is an inflammation and redness that can affect women’s breasts due to infection or to over engorgement with milk when initiating breast feeding. Cold compresses and massage can do a lot to relieve this condition.
If you let your car get moldy on the inside, no amount of air freshener will get rid of the odor. In that case, you may wish you suffered from anosmia, which is a lack of the sense of smell. This condition usually results from inflammation and congestion of the nasal passages, but may be related to brain injuries.