Albumin, Running, and Chapped Lips…Another Week

This week has been another one of those preparation-for-tests weeks. Oh wait…I suppose that’s pretty much every week isn’t it. Medical school has a lot of tests and each one is so heavily weighted that you must be 100% prepared for each one. On Tuesday I have tests over Biochemistry and Medical Cell Biology. These two classes are arguably the toughest classes this semester. Everyone says, “oh medical school isn’t hard material, it’s just a lot of material.” Biochemistry tends to push that at times, having both volume and slight difficulty. For this section of Medical Cell Biology, we have learned the various types of tissues in the human body. I think I mentioned something about it last week. The last section that we learned was the blood. We must realize that the blood is an important “tissue” and comprises multiple types of tissue. Not only that, but clinically, the blood can tell us so much about the status of the human body as a whole. For example, Albumin. Albumin is just one protein that the liver synthesizes and releases to the blood. It is used to transport things like bilirubin, fatty acids and hormones around in the blood and keeps water from leaking out of blood vessels into tissues, which would cause edema. This protein does other things as well and this is just base level information to prove a point. If Albumin is at low levels in blood tests, it can mean a lot of things pathologically, like maybe the liver is damaged, or the body doesn’t have enough protein to form Albumin due to starvation or a disorder that affects transporters in the epithelial cells in the small intestine keeping them from absorbing protein. Albumin, along with other tests and levels in the blood can teach a physician a lot about the condition of their patient. Pretty cool and complex stuff!

Two weeks ago, I ran 4.5 miles in Colorado and then the next day I got a cold and was sick for a week. It felt so good and now it feels like I’m back to where I started. I’m still recovering and have only been able to run once last week since the 4.5-mile run. Oh well! I hope to start again at full speed soon!

Going back to Colorado last week made me realize something. Colorado is DRY!!! My lips were chapped, and my hands started to dry out after only a few days of being there. Granted, I did spend a lot of time outside and it was windy too. I am finding that I really love Des Moines, although I do still miss my Colorado mountains and going fishing in them with my brother! A lot of people told me when I was heading out here that the humidity is tough to get used to but honestly, I really enjoy it! Not so sure I will enjoy this winter, but I know I am loving the fall. I’ve never seen leaves so red, purple and orange as I have here. It’s giving the drive over La Veta Pass, seeing the aspens all changing color a run for their money! (Don’t worry, I still am a Colorado native through and through.)

I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful cool weather! Talk to you all again next week!

Levi Smith, PMAC & Podiatric Medical Student @ DMU

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