Anatomy Versus Physiology

Anatomy And Physiology: The Difference

The internal structure of the human body is called anatomy and study of how the structure works is covered under human anatomy. In simple terms anatomy describes and names the parts of the body whilst physiology describes exactly how these parts function

Students who want to follow a career in medical field are required to study this subject in detail as it forms the basis of medical science. As you can imagine though, it can be a very complex and daunting subject and one of the hardest to master.

Human Anatomy

anatomyHuman body structure is studied under the subject of human anatomy. This field does not cover the subject of functions related to different body parts; that subject is covered under human physiology. Only the structural detail is covered under the human anatomy subject.

While it is true that functions and structure of body parts are somewhat related and it can be difficult to study one subject without understanding the other, there are some basic differences which mean both subjects are studied separately. Human structure in itself is so vast that combining human anatomy subject with another complex subject like human functions can make it very difficult to study and comprehend anything at all. For this reason, the structural and functional parts of human bodies are two different branches in the field of medical science.

The subject of human anatomy is covered under three major categories.

1. Macroscopic or Gross Anatomy – This subject deals with detailed macroscopic study of human structure. Parts of the human body structure that can be checked with naked eyes are covered under this subject. It is studied in two different ways – regional approach and systemic approach. The regional approach concerns itself to composition of different regions while in the systemic approach different organ systems of the human body are considered.

2. Histology or Microscopic Anatomy – In this field, the human body structure is studied in microscopic detail. Such a study requires using a scientific tool like microscope.

3. Basic Anatomy – While the study of human anatomy is limited mainly to the above two subdivisions, the basic anatomy field holds its own importance. The basic concepts related to the structural arrangements of human anatomy are studied in this field.

Human Physiology

physiologyThis subject covers the study of human body functions. While this may seem a simple subject, it is not that simple when the number of functions present in the human body is taken into account. Just think of all functions that go inside the human body and then you realize why medical students fear the study of “Human Physiology”.

Following are a list of a few of the functions that medical students need to learn and master under this subject.

1. Foundation Physiology – The most basic functions are generally studied under this subject. For example, embryos, cells, homeostasis, and other most basic parts of human body are covered under this subject. Before trying to learn any other detail, students have to understand these basic things. While it may be a tough subject in the medical course, it is also the most important one that helps establish a good foundation for further studies in the field of medical science.

2. Autonomic Systems – It is sometimes divided into other sub subjects.

3. Digestive Systems – Metabolic and metabolism functions, retinal system function, and endocrinology of energy are covered under this stream.

4. Respiratory Functions – This subject covers lungs as well as functions related to other air conversion systems of the body.

5. Cardiac Muscle – The heart muscles as well as muscles of the surrounding organs are studied.

6. Reflexes – Studying how reflexes work.

7. Skeletal Muscles – Muscles that are attached to the bones.

8. Vascular Functions – Study of veins and flow of blood.

9. Reproductive System – This is one of the most important and also the most complicated human physiology subject. The subject involves study of reproductive systems. It may also involve study of organs related to these systems. The human body reproductive system is very complicated and requires careful study.

A student who wants to achieve success in the field of medical science must have good knowledge of all these human functions. Before you can complete your course successfully, you will have to learn thoroughly the subject of human physiology. You have to memorize a large part of this course. It is important to take help of other study sources as well. Such a source can be a tutor, a study group, a website, a supplemental guide or an e-book that covers the subject of anatomy and physiology of humans.

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