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Medicine LibreTexts

1.1: Introduction to the Human Body

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  • Patient getting blood pressure taken by a health care professional.
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Blood Pressure. The image above shows a patient getting their blood pressure read by a health care professional. A proficiency in anatomy and physiology is fundamental to any career in the health professions. (Image credit:"100 Blood Pressure" by OpenStax and Bryan Mason/flickr is licensed under CC BY 4.0)

    Chapter Learning Objectives

    After studying this chapter, you will be able to:

    • Distinguish between anatomy and physiology, and identify several branches of each
    • Describe the structure of the body, from simplest to most complex, in terms of the six levels of organization
    • Identify the functional characteristics of human life
    • Define homeostasis and explain its importance to normal human functioning
    • Use appropriate anatomical terminology to identify key body structures, body regions, and directions in the body

    Though you may approach the subjects of anatomy and physiology strictly as a requirement for your field of study, the knowledge you gain in these subjects 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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