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Hunger can also be applied metaphorically to cravings of other sorts, e.g. "hungry for victory."
When hunger contractions occur in the stomach, these are called hunger pangs. Hunger pangs usually do not begin until 12 to 24 hours after the last ingestion of food, in starvation. A single hunger contraction lasts about 30 seconds, and pangs continue for around 30-45 minutes, then hunger subsides for around 30-150 minutes. Individual contractions are separated at first, but are almost continuous after a certain amount of time. Emotional states (anger, joy etc.) may inhibit hunger contractions. Levels of hunger are increased by lower blood sugar levels, and are higher in diabetics. They reach their greatest intensity in 3 to 4 days and may weaken in the succeeding days, though hunger never disappears. Hunger contractions are most intense in young, healthy people who have high degrees of gastrointestinal tonus. Periods between contractions increase with old age.
Hunger appears to increase activity and movement in many animals - for example an experiment on spiders showed increased activity and predation in starved spiders, resulting in larger weight gain. This pattern is seen in many animals, including humans while sleeping. It even occurs in rats with their cerebral cortex or stomachs completely removed. Increased activity on hamster wheels occurred when rats were deprived not only of food, but also water or B vitamins such as thiamine This response may increase the animal's chance of finding food, though it has also been speculated the reaction relieves pressure on the home population.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hunger". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|