37685374031 - 1 Introduction to Clinical Applications...

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11Introduction to Clinical ApplicationsObjectivesIn this chapter we will studyvarious approaches to the study of disease;the role of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;common causes of disease;the distinction between signs and symptoms of disease;terms used to describe the time course of a disease; andcommon abbreviations for medical specialists and specialties.Homeostasis and DiseaseThe body’s tendency to maintain internal stability iscalledhomeostasis.Examples include the body’srelativelystabletemperature,bloodglucoseconcentration, hormone levels, acid-base balance, andelectrolyte balance. When physiological variablesdeviate too much from theirset point,the bodyactivatesnegative feedback loopsthat tend to restorestability and maintain health. In some cases, such asthe stoppage of bleeding,positive feedback loopsareactivated to bring about rapid change. If the attemptto regain homeostasis fails,diseaseresults.There is a strong emphasis in medicine today onpromoting wellness through prevention. However, thismanual focuses on what happens when preventionfails, homeostasis is disrupted, and disease occurs.The Study of DiseaseDisease (illness)is any deviation from normal thatinterferes with correct, life-sustaining bodily function.Literally, the word meansdis-ease,the opposite ofease (comfort and normal function). Disease may haveunderlying structural foundations, such as a brokenbone, and its effects may be observed not just at thelevel of bodily form and function but also at the levelof the mind, as in psychiatric diseases (mental illness).The study of disease is calledpathology,a fieldthat embraces all aspects of disease, from the patient’scomplaints to the gross and microscopic appearanceof dysfunctional tissues and organs.Pathologistsarephysicians and others who specialize in this branch ofmedicine.Asubdivisionofpathologycalledpathophysiologyfocusesspecificallyonthephysiological(functional)aspectsoforgandysfunction,asopposedtotheirstructuralabnormalities.Histopathologyisthestudyofdiseased organs at the microscopic level.Epidemiologistsare scientists who study thesocial distribution and spread of diseases, especiallyto determine their sources and causes and to halt theirspread. Since epidemiology is such an importantpublic health concern and epidemiologists play a keyrole in formulating public health policy, manyepidemiologists work at such organizations as theWorld Health Organization (WHO), U.S. PublicHealth Service (USPHS), and comparable nationalhealth agencies in other countries. One of the premierinstitutions for epidemiology is the USPHS divisioncalled the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The CDCwas originally established in Georgia because of theprevalence of malaria in that region of the UnitedStates and the importance of this infectious disease tothe U.S. military personnel who trained at bases in the

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