Anatomy and Physiology For Dummies, 3rd Edition
Book PrefaceAnatomy and Physiology For Dummies, 3rd 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. Anatomy and physiology prepare you to be a more well-rounded, knowledgeable person and will 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. Consider reading the relevant chapter prior to class. That way, when your instructor covers the content, it’ll be more likely to stick!
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.
Within this book, you may note that some web addresses break across two lines of text. If you’re reading this book in print and want to visit one of these web pages, simply key in the web address exactly as it’s noted in the text, pretending as though the line break doesn’t exist. If you’re reading this as an e-book, you’ve got it easy — just click the web address to be taken directly to the web page.
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