Anatomy and Physiology For Dummies 2nd Edition
Book PrefaceAnatomy and Physiology For Dummies 2nd Edition
Begin with the most obvious: the social value of this knowledge. Human anatomy and physiology is always a suitable topic of discussion in social situations because it allows people to talk about their favorite subject (themselves) in a not-too-personal way. Thus, some particularly interesting detail of anatomy and physiology is an ideal conversation opener with attractive strangers or horrifying shirt-tail relatives. (First, though, be completely clear in your mind about the boundary between scientific anatomy and physiology on the one hand and personal clinical details on the other.) Choose the specific topic carefully to be sure of having your intended effect. For example, telling a young boy that he has the same density of hair follicles on his body as a chimp does will probably please him. Telling his teenage sister the same thing may alienate her. Use this power carefully!
A little background in anatomy and physiology should be considered a valuable part of anyone’s education. Health and medical matters are part of world events and people’s daily lives. Basic knowledge of anatomy and physiology gets you started when trying to make sense of the news about epidemics, novel drugs and medical devices, and purported environmental hazards, to name just a few examples. Everyone has a problem with some aspect of his or her anatomy and physiology at some point, and this knowledge can help you be a better parent, spouse, care-giver, neighbor, friend, or colleague.
Knowledge of anatomy and physiology may also benefit your own health. Sometimes, comprehension of a particular fact or concept can help drive a good decision about long-term health matters, like the demonstrated benefits of exercise, or it may help you take appropriate action in the context of a specific medical problem, like an infection, an infarction, a cut, or a muscle strain. You may understand your doctors’ instructions better during a course of treatment, which may give you a better medical outcome.
About This Book
This book guides you on a quick walk-through of human anatomy and physiology. It doesn’t have the same degree of technical detail as a textbook. It contains relatively little in the way of lists of important anatomical structures, for instance.
We expect that most readers are using this book as a complementary resource for course work in anatomy and physiology at the high-school, college, or career-training level. Most of the information overlaps with the information available in your other resources. However, sometimes a slightly different presentation of a fact or of the relationship between facts can lead to a small “aha!” Some technical details in your more comprehensive resources may become easier to master after that.
The goals of this book are to be informal but not unscientific; brief but not sketchy; and information-rich but accessible to readers at many levels. We’ve tried to present a light but serious survey of human anatomy and physiology that you can enjoy for the sake of the information it imparts and that will help you perform well on your tests. As always, the reader is the judge of its success.
You won’t find clinical information in this book. Chapters 4 through 15 have a pathophysiology section that uses disorders and disease states to explore the details of some physiological processes, but this book contains nothing related to patient care or self-care. It’s also not a health and wellness manual or any kind of lifestyle book.
Conventions Used in This Book
We use the following conventions throughout the text to make the presentation of information consistent and easy to understand:
New terms appear in italic and are closely followed by an easy-to-understand definition.
Bold is used to highlight keywords in bulleted lists.
If you’re using this book as a supplement to an assigned textbook, your course materials may name structures and physiological substances using a different nomenclature (naming system) than the one we use in this book. (Very little in biology goes by only one name.)
What You’re Not to Read
As much as we’d like you to read every word we’ve written, we recognize that you may have limited time or interest to do so. If you need to make the most of your time with the text, here’s what’s safe to skip:
Text in sidebars: Sidebars are the shaded boxes that provide a more in-depth look at some aspect of anatomy or physiology. In some instances, they connect real-world experiences with how your body responds.
Text marked with a Technical Stuff icon: Sometimes we give you a nugget of information that’s a little more advanced. We mark these sentences with a Technical Stuff icon. If reading these paragraphs makes your head hurt, skip to the next paragraph.
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