Anatomy And Physiology (A&P)
The Make Up Of Your Body And How It Functions and How it Relates to
Before I retired as a nurse, I participated in health
clinics in pharmacies. I was one of those nurses in a lab coat, stethoscope around
my neck, a smile on my face, who approaches you and asks if you would
like your blood pressure taken. Few people decline. Most accept my
I would measure your blood pressure, discuss the results, and then
offer whatever other clinic topic is being done that day. Invariably the
subject comes down to a discussion on the person’s other health issues
and yes, even Meniere's disease does come up at these clinics.
It is at this point I always want to teach them about their bodies,
their anatomy and physiology: what
they are made of and how function.
And as usual, I would like you to use this information
for interest only, not as medical research.
People KNOW their body has many parts, and they want some ideas as to
what might or might not be happening. I have found a marked improvement
in the last decade in the kind of questions people ask and their desire
to stay healthy. People seem to be much more interested in getting all
the facts before they take action.
understand your Anatomy and Physiology, there is much you can do to stay
healthy, or possibly regain your health.
If you have some
health issues, like Meniere's disease, you might want to find out how
to regain your “missing” health. But in order to do that you really need
to know how your body functions and what it’s all about.
People are very
intelligent. If they don’t know something, they search the Internet for
the information themselves or get someone to do it for them. They want
to understand why things happen to them. I draw many a picture of blood
vessels (arteries) filled with “debris” or show how the kidney connects
to the bladder, or how the ear functions.
Once you know what true health
is, you can understand why your body might be experiencing less than
desirable results. Then you make informed decisions and can take
I love the idea how police are trained to detect counterfeit
money. They are taught to recognize it by spending the vast
majority of their time seeing and feeling the legal bills. Once
they become familiar with the good ones, they are innocently
introduced to the counterfeit bills. These are now easy to spot.
The student is now confidently recognizing the real ones and the
fake ones stand out. Why is this important? How can you fix
something if you don't know how it works or what it is supposed
You want to learn the truth about your body. What it's all about
(anatomy). How it's meant to function (physiology).
Once you put
this information together, it will then be much easier to
recognize "ill" or negative results and Meniere's disease is a
huge negative result. Your corrective action will
present itself. Be confident in its functions. In the vast
majority of people, the vital organs are of similar size.
are definitely of similar actions or behaviors. So consider
yourself normal and learn to use this information. It can make
your life either very, very good or very bad. The choice is
yours and no one else's.
So often we blame others for our
results. But in our bodies, the only person who can possibly be
responsible is that individual. No one forces you to drink a
super sugar-loaded drinks or high salt content fries. Someone
may cajole or shame you, but you do the swallowing.
encourage you to at least become aware of this "distinction". As
part of this anatomy and physiology "lesson", I am also
mentioning the connection to the aging process and how it
differs from the degenerative process. These are important
issues to learn and then to apply if you wish to live a healthy
- ANATOMY is the study, classification, and description of
structures and organs of the body.
- PHYSIOLOGY is the study and process of the function of the
It is the study of the physical and chemical processes
involved in the functioning of the living organisms and their
component parts. When we talk about anatomy, we often also
discuss the function of it, so take care in understanding the
As you already know, disease doesn't have to be a
part of your life. If you want to either avoid it or eliminate
it, you need to know the true body first and its functions. Only
then can you make a change. Everything else is guessing and a
waste of your time and effort. Just like counterfeit money,
knowing the truth helps you recognize the "untruth" or false or
mistaken actions and beliefs.
As usual, I encourage you to do some more research on your
disease symptoms. And please
don't take this article and wave it at your doctor and ask for
explanations. Use the best organ you have, your brain, and start
thinking for yourself.
- What if?
- How can I?
- What do I need to find out?
This is your starting
point. Move ahead, with knowledge and confidence. Until you get
a feeling for the make up of your body, you won't be able to
figure out its function.
Most books on anatomy and physiology have an atlas or a diagram
These usually present two genders: male and female. Why? Because
the bodies are similar in actions but not totally similar in
structure. All is identical except for the reproductive system:
each gender has its own.
Being small or large boned or being
overweight or very tiny, doesn't really present a major
challenge. The underlying organs are essentially the same.
Generally the female body has smaller features.
Do you ever look at pictures in medical books or sites and
wonder why the patient is always facing to the front, in an
upright position? That's called the anatomical position. From
that viewpoint, everything is identified. So a medical person
anywhere in the world can relate to the picture or person.
allows everyone to determine how "deviant" the situation is from
the normal. Everyone in the medical community studies this in
detail. It is the roadmap for their decisions. Each must learn
and understand and then apply this knowledge. The truth is the
And remember that when a health care professional is
checking you in person, they are facing you. Same as the picture
person. So the doctor's "left" is actually your "right". They
will immediately "translate" this to the correct side. There are
also imaginary lines drawn all over your body.
different parts of the body in quadrants or planes. Each has a
specific meaning. So if you directed me to a pain in your left
upper quadrant, I would know what structures lie underneath that
point. And cavities ("hollow" or "unoccupied" spaces) exist in
your body. They are not solely holes in your teeth.
has an anterior and a posterior side: front and back. Because
everyone's anatomy is virtually identical, you can see how
quickly someone can make a medical assumption. Granted once in
while someone has an anomaly or an unusual position or no organ
at all but here we are only dealing with the normal anatomy for
the general population.
Your body's very basic unit is the cell and every cell has a
purpose or a function
The definition of a cell is "the
fundamental unit of all living tissue". For our purpose of
general explanation, each cell has a nucleus (the leader)
cytoplasm, in which the nucleus lives and a cell wall.
many other types of cells, but this one definition works for us.
So every part of your body is a cell. Nothing that is in you is
NOT a cell of some type. And these cells perform different
Similar cells arrange themselves in groups and are
then called tissue. And tissue is described as a collection of
similar cells acting together to perform a particular function.
- Nerve cells carry messages to the brain
- Connective tissue holds
different parts together
- Muscle tissue creates all sorts of
padding, and epithelial tissue holds your body in a nice shape
via your skin
Of course, there are many more cell combinations.
One kidney cell is pretty ineffective, but millions of them can
keep you alive. Same for brain cells. All this similar tissue
together is now called an organ (a very important member of
society is an organ donor. The generosity of such a gift will
change the course of another's life.) And in grouping these
organs together, you now have systems. In essence, you are one
tiny cell many times multiplied into ten systems.
We won't get too technical but just know that each of us has
these cells and that's the anatomy of the body, the make up of
the structures. An analogy is that we are all people of
different colors and races, but underneath we are all the same.
Same structures. Same organs. Same tissue. Same systems. Same
brain cells. But we seek out relationships that make us
comfortable: where we feel accepted.
The same happens with the
organs and their tissue. All organs that deal with feeding or
elimination of waste production are grouped into the
Gastrointestinal or Digestive system. Anything to do with the
blood or the heart is combined and called the Cardiovascular
The eight other systems are;
- Skeletal (often linked together as Musculoskeletal)
So from a
single cell, we have now established a living person.
Now let's move to the functions of this living cell. Don't ever
let anymore tell you that if you have a problem in one area of
your body that it doesn't really affect another part. It does.
The body is an incredible machine and is connected to everything
in it. And its response is very fast.
All parts are interrelated
and interconnected. No action is too small for it not to make a
difference or have an effect, such as
cause a Meniere's disease attack,
or a vertigo attack. And that also shows the body's
incredible adjusting power. Most times you won't even know
something is being adjusted to make another part work better or
Since nothing with nature happens in a vacuum, it has to do
something. This is the physiology of the living organism. It is
designed to act a certain way. On its own, it's virtually
useless. Together, with millions of identical cells, it now
produces activities or behaviors that are measurable.
the truth is that you can function perfectly if your cells are
anatomically perfect. Everything they need to survive and do
their job is present. Conversely in "unhealth" or the presence
of dis-ease, the cell is not anatomically correct and
subsequently cannot function as designed.
It's like your vacuum cleaner. Take away one of its parts and
either it won't work at all or will do a poor job. And if you
don't remove the soil that has plugged it or fixed the parts
that don't work, it won't do the job. It's still considered a
vacuum, but it's pretty useless.
Let's Review the Definition of Anatomy and Physiology
- Anatomy is the study, classification, and description of
structures and organs of the body. I think that's pretty well
explained. Cell to tissue to organ to system to body.
- Physiology is the study and process of the function of the
human. It is the study of the physical and chemical processes
involved in the functioning of the living organisms and their
We will use the heart as an example.
We know that the heart is a huge muscle, as is your biceps
muscle in your upper arm. Same tissue, but their FUNCTIONS are
Let's suppose you are to cut out 3/4 of your
biceps muscle because it was diseased and becoming necrotic
(dying tissue). You would have a big hollow in your arm, but
life would continue.
Do the same 3/4 "reduction" in your heart
(organ) and life COULD not continue! So function of any cell and
its larger part, is vitally important.
And of course each organ
has its own specific, specialized and non-duplicable function.
Obviously with ten different systems working simultaneously in
your body, there is a lot of activity. And most of it done
without any knowledge or help on your part.
- Your heart beats
- Your lungs expand and contract automatically and
blood with oxygen for blood without oxygen
- Your kidneys are
- Your digestive tract is handling input and
output of nutrients
- Your skin is protecting you and holding you
- Your bones are holding you upright
- your brain is
computing millions of messages
You are a living miracle! And
this list isn't anywhere near complete!
Nothing so far has been said about maintaining this perfect
"machine". It does require maintenance. Nothing runs forever.
Systems break down by lack of one or more deficits.
cell can be impaired by a number of factors. In a very
simplistic way, any food that the cell can't use or is harmful
hinders its health maintenance. All systems are required to work
in harmony and efficiency. It is called dis-ease.
Your body has
supplied the cells, and the systems and the functions. It's up
to you to supply the maintenance factors.
But there is another important factor to remember. We often hear
that we start to deteriorate when we are born. True enough. It's
called the "aging process". It's normal and natural. It starts
at birth and ends in death. No one can avoid it.
But we can
really prevent speeding up the process! And that process is
called disease and it is not normal. But how can you possibly
prevent the disease from getting a foothold in your body if you
don't know the basic structures, functions, and needs?
Chronic diseases such as;
plus many more can all be part of
the breakdown: of degeneration. Now let's look at the normal aging
process. Normal aging is a series of lower activities;
- Fragile tissue
- Decreasing production of body fluids
such as lubricants
- Slower mobility
- Finer hair
- Less sharp eyesight. (But it is not macular
- Fewer hormones are produced and secreted
- Bone density
is reduced, but it's not an accelerated reduction as in
- Your heart slows down and it shows up as fatigue
- A slower heart results in less blood being circulated.
- Lower blood circulation brings
about less activity, including nutrients, all through your body
- The nutrients that drive the metabolism are fewer and less
terms "lesser", "thinner", "slower" describe the normal aging
process. But it shows how completely interrelated every part of you is!
Now enters a cultural phenomenon. The body of a 19 or 25 year
old can run a long marathon. All the cells are functioning at
top performance. Anatomically they are healthy and complete.
Everything should be pretty perfect. But we don't expect our 68
year old to be able to do the same. It's not meant to be that
way and for the senior who does do this, they are to be
commended. But it's rare.
It's perfectly possible. I would
hazard a guess that only a tiny fraction of our society is
anatomically prepared to do this. Most people cells are aging
normally and are decreasing their output or production.
came first? Nature or Culture?
Personally I would think
everything we do is either based directly or indirectly on our
understanding of nature. Our natural makeup, experience, and
expectations influence us greatly.
It all sounds very difficult, and confusing AND time-consuming!
However, once you see how easy it is to provide your body with
these positive factors and eliminate harmful or negative ones,
it's not so complicated. But up till now you have probably taken
your body for granted.
It may be running on "empty". You moved
without any consideration for the consequences to your joints.
You probably didn't realize that just your (external) home, you
body needs regular maintenance or a breakdown will occur.
Now that you have a greater understanding of your
anatomy and physiology, you will find
answers to your questions.
If you recognize
allergies, find out why you have them and why the entire world
doesn't have them. Yes, many do, but again, they are not a
natural phenomenon. Find out what is going into your body via
foods, drugs, or environmental "irritants". Ask why your body
puts up a fight (asthma attack or sneezing) when something gets
into your nose or lungs. Your respiratory system is trying to
protect you. Yet for convenience sake, you take a drug to kill
your protective defense mechanisms. If you find your elbows
stiff after tennis, ask yourself why.
I am really glad we are on an anti-aging crusade but I think it
comes from the wrong sector of society. Rebuild your own body
with common sense and healthy choices. Ask yourself how you can
feed and nurture every cell of your body's systems. Your entire
body needs adequate and appropriate nutrition, and the
elimination of harmful intruders. (Drugs, allergens, unhealthy
You are the gatekeeper. RSVP your way back to health. Read all
you can. Study what you really don't understand. Visualize
yourself in full health (no matter what your present state is.).
Then get practical. Follow proper eating habits and exercise
You don't have to run a marathon. A gentle walk will
do and you can increase the pace as you feel like it. Make the
changes you know are necessary. And please remember you are NOT
your spouse, your parent, or anyone else. You are strictly you.
Only you have been privilege of living in this body for now. It
is your responsibility to nurture it so we can all benefit from
your mission through life.
Just as police are trained to detect counterfeit money, you too
can benefit from understanding your true and healthy body. Once
you recognize good ways to keep it well and "empowered", you
will want to find ways to improve all aspects of it.
And don't get caught in the exercise or low carb/ high carb.low
fat/ high fat, gluten free diets for Meniere's disease traps. Get yourself some really good books, study
the author's approach to nutrition, exercise, and health in
general, and see how it feels. If you are uncomfortable, leave
it alone. If it feels right, try it for a specific length of
time and then evaluate your results.
You are on the first step
to taking back control: learning what works and what doesn't.
And keep a sharp eye out for
additives and other chemicals
that could trigger a Meniere's disease attack. (I
am still amazed at the inaccurate statements on fats and
additives, and especially artificial sweeteners.) Now that you
know what your body is made of and how it functions at optimum
efficiency, you want to help it along so you can enjoy many
years of healthy living.
By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.
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