Karin & David Henderson

21362 River Road

Maple Ridge, B.C.

Canada V2X 2B3

604-463-8666 (PST)

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Anatomy And Physiology (A&P) - The Make Up Of Your Body And How It Functions and How it Relates to Meniere's Disease

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 offer.

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.

Once you 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 reasonable actions.

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 to do?

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.

They 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.

Let me 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 lifestyle.

  • 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 human.

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 two parts.

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 Meniere's 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.

Ask yourself:

  • What if?
  • How can I?
  • Why does it?
  • 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.

It 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 truth.

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.

They describe 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.

Everyone 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.

There are 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 activities.

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 system.

The eight other systems are;

  • Urinary
  • Respiratory
  • Muscular
  • Skeletal (often linked together as Musculoskeletal) Endocrine
  • Integumentary
  • Nervous
  • Reproductive

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 keep up.

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.

Again, 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 component parts.

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 VERY different!

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 they exchange blood with oxygen for blood without oxygen
  • Your kidneys are constantly filtering
  • Your digestive tract is handling input and output of nutrients
  • Your skin is protecting you and holding you together
  • 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.

The basic 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;

  • Thinner skin
  • Fragile tissue
  • Decreasing production of body fluids such as lubricants
  • Slower mobility
  • Finer hair
  • Less sharp eyesight. (But it is not macular degeneration.)
  • Fewer hormones are produced and secreted
  • Bone density is reduced, but it's not an accelerated reduction as in osteoporosis.
  • 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 available

The 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.

What 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 some possible 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 environments, etc.)

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
your body.

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.



Additional Resources


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