This photo shows a nurse taking a woman’s blood pressure with a blood pressure cuff. The nurse is pumping the cuff with her right hand and holding a stethoscope on the patient’s arm with her left hand.
Figure 1.1Blood Pressure
A proficiency in anatomy and physiology is fundamental to any career in the health professions. (Credit: Bryan Mason/flickr)


Learning Objectives

  • Define and apply medical terminology suffixes and prefixes
  • Distinguish between anatomy and physiology
  • Describe the structure of the body, from simplest to most complex
  • Define metabolism and classify the two phases of metabolism
  • Define homeostasis and explain types of feedback loops
  • Use appropriate anatomical terminology to identify key body structures, body regions, and directions in the body

Though you may approach a course in anatomy and physiology strictly as a requirement for your field of study, the knowledge you gain in this course will serve you well in many aspects of your life. An understanding of anatomy and physiology is not only fundamental to any career in the health professions, but it can also benefit your own health. Familiarity with the human body can help you make healthful choices and prompt you to take appropriate action when signs of illness arise. Your knowledge in this field will help you understand news about nutrition, medications, medical devices, and procedures and help you understand genetic or infectious diseases. At some point, everyone will have a problem with some aspect of his or her body and your knowledge can help you to be a better parent, spouse, partner, friend, colleague, or caregiver.

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