Human Anatomy & Physiology (7th Edition)
As you make your way through this book, you will be learning about one of the most fascinating subjects possible—your own body. Such a study is not only highly personal, but timely as well. The current information blizzard brings news of some medical advance almost daily. If you are to appreciate emerging discoveries in genetic engineering, to understand new techniques for detecting and treating disease, and to make use of published facts on how to stay healthy, it is important to learn about the workings of your body. For those preparing for a career in the health sciences, the study of anatomy and physiology has added rewards because it provides the foundation needed to support your clinical experiences.
In this chapter we define and contrast anatomy and physiology and discuss how the human body is organized. Then we review needs and functional processes common to all living organisms. Three essential concepts—the complementarity of structure and function, the hierarchy of structural organization, and homeostasis—will unify and form the bedrock for your study of the human body. The final section of the chapter deals with the language of anatomy—terminology that anatomists use when they describe the body or its parts.
An Overview of Anatomy and Physiology
Two complementary branches of science—anatomy and physiology—provide the concepts that help us to understand the human body. Anatomy studies the structure of body parts and their relationships to one another. Anatomy has a certain appeal because it is concrete. Body structures can be seen, felt, and examined closely; it is not necessary to imagine what they look like. Physiology concerns the function of the body, in other words, how the body parts work and carry out their life-sustaining activities. When all is said and done, physiology is explainable only in terms of the underlying anatomy. To simplify the study of the body, most references to body structures and/or physiological values (body temperature, heart rate, and the like) assume that we are talking about a healthy young (22-year-old) male weighing about 155 lb (the reference man) or a healthy young female weighing about 125 lb (the reference woman).
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