Astronauts usually lose 10 p.c to 14 p.c of their blood quantity within the first weeks of area journey, and about half that quantity by the point they attain Mars. Even astronauts who return dwelling lose some blood quantity.
Along with blood loss, astronauts could expertise various different physiological issues, equivalent to muscle weak point and diminished bone density, amongst others. Many of those issues will enhance with time, however others require medical consideration from an astronaut doctor. Listed below are a number of examples of what astronauts expertise.
The very first thing to think about is the discount of blood move to the mind. The mind receives oxygen from the blood and makes use of it for neurotransmission (communication between nerve cells), for cell upkeep, for power manufacturing, and for communication.
Because the mind receives much less oxygen, it should burn up extra blood vessels to compensate. When this happens, the mind’s effectivity suffers. Many astronauts report having a “dry”troublesome” day after coming back from a protracted flight. These signs could also be associated to decreased mind perform brought on by decreased blood move.
Subsequent, astronauts expertise muscle weak point and decreased bone density. As bones lose density, the bones are much less in a position to help the physique’s weight. Bone density will be affected by many elements, together with age, dietary standing, and stress. When bone density is decreased, it implies that astronauts who spend loads of time within the weightlessness of area have much less safety in opposition to falls and damage.
Muscle perform can also be diminished. Some astronauts discover a lack of flexibility. Muscular tissues are vital for the functioning of the mind, in addition to the physique’s immune system, so weak point in muscle mass is usually linked to illnesses equivalent to arthritis. If muscle energy is decreased, astronauts could not be capable of elevate their our bodies as a lot, which may end up in a rise in bone fractures.
Low blood sugar, dehydration, and low potassium are all indicators of dehydration. Dehydration can result in shock and even loss of life. Astronauts affected by extreme dehydration will discover it troublesome to get sufficient air, thus lowering their means to struggle off infections. As effectively, they’ll discover it arduous to control their coronary heart charge and blood strain.
Astronauts ought to concentrate on these signs in addition to different issues associated to low blood quantity and may search medical consideration as quickly as doable. A few of these points will enhance over time as their physique heals, whereas others would require extra consideration. Along with consulting an astronaut doctor, astronauts could need to contemplate doing easy actions equivalent to growing fluid consumption, which might help replenish misplaced water and assist keep their electrolyte ranges.
Different methods to extend blood quantity are to take vitamin dietary supplements, in addition to calcium and potassium, that are very important for correct bone progress and correct muscle perform. Additionally, many individuals can decrease their danger of creating a life-threatening medical situation by exercising each day. This may scale back the chance of creating osteoporosis.
The consequences of poor circulation in area will be dangerous to astronauts in addition to to the surroundings. Poor circulation may cause the physique to launch waste merchandise, equivalent to carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides into the environment. This in flip causes the ozone layer to evaporate.
Astronauts who spend time in area typically don’t obtain ample quantities of oxygen and subsequently have issue respiratory. Along with respiratory difficulties, they could additionally endure from lack of train, decreased psychological alertness, and despair.
Astronauts can stop these issues by consuming proper and by staying mentally alert. They’ll additionally enhance their total psychological well being by getting common train, ingesting plenty of fluids and collaborating in psychological and bodily actions equivalent to video games, exercising, meditation, yoga, and taking over hobbies equivalent to crossword puzzles and enjoying musical devices.