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Introductory-to: What is Human Anatomy & Physiology?

Updated on August 5, 2013

Learn more about Human A&P by a Med. student!

Hi there fellow Squidoo-ers out there!

First of all, thanks for landing on my lens and spending the time to read it! Much appreciate! Since you're offering your precious time, so do I! This lens serves as an overview of what-to-expect in Human Anatomy & Physiology for those who are planning to take up this rewarding course! Let's get started!

What is Human Anatomy & Physiology? Based on the name, you should roughly get the idea. Let's keep it simple, Anatomy is the study of bones and body structures, whereas Physiology is the study of body functions and behaviors, so combined, it is the study of relationship between human body structures and functions. Body structures and functions are closely related, why? Because our body is unique, the structures are engineered to adapt and support our body functions and mechanisms. For example, why there are openings in your nose? It's to allow breathing, right? See, there's a reason why the human body are structure in it's way in the sense that it's symmetrical.

Before we move any further, let me share you a story of mine during the time I am doing this course. I grew up from a science background and to no surprise, I eventually ventured into the Medicine field. Human Anatomy & Physiology course is essential for those who intended to do/ work in the Medicine, Health care, Health science related field, it's a compulsory and fundamental knowledge. It is actually very interesting to learn about and not that "scary" despite there are tons of new terminologies (well, expected ya?) to embrace on!

Keep your mind heart open, don't stick to your same old school way of thinking that "Oh, I study because I am forced to pass my exams... Oh gosh, so many memorizing works... Oh my... what are all these, so many alien names?! Oh this... oh that...!" If you're still having this mindset, please considering changing to another course/ major as since you're not interested? Yes, I must admit, there are indeed many NEW "languages" to pick up however, take it as part of your learning curve, nothing come easy, agree? Work for it, in the end, when you achieve GPA 4.0, everything is so WORTH IT! Why do I say so? Because I am one of the GPA 4.0 scorers! *blush* ;)

What do you need?

"A motivated and adrenalized mindset!"

First of all, either you're taking this course up on your own initiative OR you're doing this as part of your degree (Bachelor) program, you do need some learning materials.

Here's the prerequisite:

1. Has some general background foundation on Science. Consider taking Cell Biology or Life Science and some basic chemistry beforehand.

2. Has good command of English and Science terminologies. Trust me, you will have a hard time braining all those medical terms, you've been warned!

3. Get your hands on some learning materials.

4. Willing to give in and never turn back.

That's it! Â<3

Some other great learning materials on Amazon - Look up some of them!

All of these references will be of good hand through your journey of Human A&P. :)

Chapters Overview !! *SPOILER ALERT* !!

"Steep learning curve!"

Below is a brief list of Human A&P chapters that you will embark on + my commentaries! *^o^*

1. An Introduction to the Human Body

This is the introduction chapter which expose you to the general understanding of human body, characteristics of living human organism, medical imaging and some basic anatomical terminologies for example: anterior, posterior, lateral, medial, ipsilateral.. .. .. ++

2. The Chemical Level of Organization

This is where you understand the fundamentals of matter, chemical bonds and reactions, inorganic and organic compounds; Basic chemistry!

3. The Cellular Level of Organization

This chapter exposes you to the hierarchy of human body organization and basic parts of cell for example the plasma membrane, cytoplasm, nucleus... Pretty much still basic stuffs..

4. The Tissue Level of Organization

This chapter introduces you to 4 MAIN types of tissues in human body which are the epithelial, connective, muscle and nervous tissues.

5. The Integumentary System

Here comes the real deal, an in-depth learning on the human skin, the characteristics, the types, the layers which are divided into different stratum, for example stratum basal, the innermost layer, stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidum all the way up to stratum corneum, the outermost layer of skin and their respective functions.

6. The Skeletal System: Bone Tissue

This is where you learn about the functions and the skeletal system, the histology of bones, not to mention bone formation, bone fracture and their role in calcium homeostasis. Pretty BIG + Important chapter for those who are interested and perhaps plan of venture into Osteology ^.^ As usual, there are lots of new terminologies here, osteoclasts, osteoblasts, osteo-pro-genital, osteocyte... Don't be freak out!

7. The Skeletal System: The Axial Skeletion

HoHoo! Merry X'mas! Here's the "Gifts" from Skele-Claus! :) Embrace yourself with tons of names, not to mention their divisions, types and functions! This is AXIAL SKELETON where you learn about the Skull, the Hyoid Bone, Vertebral Column and your Thorax, your axial body!

8. The Skeletal System: The Appendicular Skeleton

Weee, all the best! Another tough one, should I say easier? Cuz' there are more names and names and names... pure memorizing work! well, you can't escape since it's ANATOMY right? The APPENDICULAR SKELETON consists of your pectoral and pelvic girdle, upper and lower limbs :)

Who can label all those? Challenge?

9. Joints

Alright, buck up! Joints are coming! This is where you're exposed to different classes of joints, well not too many, just 3 main ones, the Fibrous, the Cartilaginous and the Synovial joints. Also involves joint movements, oh yeah, Arthroplasty!

10. Muscular Tissue

Phew, all the anatomy parts are gone for the moment! Cheers! Here comes the more-to-understanding-part, where you will be learning the mechanism of action of muscles, how muscles contract and relax, metabolism, muscle tension, your heart (also known as cardiac) muscle and of course smooth muscle tissue.

Sexy... huh? X.x

11. The Muscular System

Quite a short chapter I would say, basically introduces you to the "hierarchy" of muscle organization, fascicle, muscle fibril and the coatings (Perichondrium, Epichondrium... )

12. Nervous System

Nervous system, are you NERVOUS? Haha! Ever wonder how you react to situations when you're panic? You stepped on a nail, your leg immediately reflexes and you shout "OUCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" <- How this works just in a blink of a sec.? Our nervous system is one of the most complex system ever. You will learn in-depth about the histology of nervous tissue, electrical and chemical signals and their method of transmissions, neural circuits, neurotransmitters and neurogenesis :)

13. The Spinal Cord and Spinal Nerves

Hmm, back to anatomies? External and internal anatomy of spinal cord and nerves + Physiology.

14. The Brain and Cranial Nerves

Uhh, all about the brain! Brain here, brain there! :D Cerebrospinal fluid, brain stem, cerebellum, diencephalon (consists of thalamus, hypothalamus, epithalamus and circumventricular organs and of course your cerebrum or your cerebral cortex! K, I understand how you feel right now, dafuq is this guy talking, alien language? Wahaha!

15. The Autonomic Nervous System

"Automatic, automatic, You're automatic and your heart's like an engine... wooooo... I die with every beat, You're automatic and your voice is electric.... wooo.... Why do I still believe?" Oops sorry! Haha, missed them, Tokio Hotel :P This is where you study about the somatic and autonomic nervous systems and their respective physiology (sympathetic and parasympathetic responses). "There's no real love in you

Why do I keep loving you...." I love you guys!

16. Sensory, Motor and Integrative System

This is where you learn about sensations, your receptors, why do feel pain? Because there's pain receptor! What if we remove the pain receptors, so we won't feel pain? Right huh? Then I wish you good luck surviving with bleeds :)

17. The Special Senses

Special senses! Your eye, ear, nose, mouth, tongue... ! In-depth learning on some pathways involving your olfaction, gustation, vision and hearing + equilibrium! How do you balance yourself while standing? Why is head always straight up and not tilting left and right? Hmm..?

Hmm, I think it's enough of spoilers already, the rest I will leave it to you guys to explore yourself, it's more fun to discover things by yourself, Surprise! <3

18. The Endocrine System

19. The Cardiovascular System: The Blood

20. The Cardiovascular System: The Heart

21. The Cardiovascular System: Blood Vessels and Hemodynamics

22. The Lymphatic System and Immunity

23. The Respiratory System

24. The Digestive System

25. Metabolism and Nutrition

26. The Urinary System

27. Fluid, Electrolyte and Acid-Base Homeostasis

28. The Reproductive Systems

29. Development and Inheritance

How to study?

It's so heavy-loaded! X.x

After all the list of chapters overview and all the intriguing raging hormones build-up within, you finally decided to take up Human Anatomy and Physiology as part of your journey! GREAT!! You get your hands on those amazing learning materials, you flip through every brightly colorful pages, you see some nauseous diagrams, then you ask, Wow? How do I supposed to study all these? It's so factual-loaded!! "Never mind, I'll just give up.. *sigh*"

"You can give in to the failure messages and be a bitter deadbeat of excuses. Or you can choose to be happy and positive and excited about life."

A.L. Williams

So I assume you get what I mean? Alright alright, I'll share some tips on how to study Human A&P. Whether you are studying yourself or you signed up for Bachelor Degree in Medicine or Biomedical Science or Health Science and this course is part of your major, no worries! Below are some useful tips for you guys on how-to-succeed!

1. Read through the text and understand, do not memorize anything before you understand.

Understanding the key in progressive learning, you don't memorize shits and pour them out in exams unless it's anatomy where you have no choice!

2. Constant revision, strictly no last minute studying.

DON'T burn the midnight oil, it's BAD, for your health as well!

Schedule a daily timetable. You can't do last minute work with Human A&P, because there's A LOT of stuffs to cover, ranging from naming, mechanisms up to anatomical aspects. How do you think you will succeed in 1 night? or maybe 2? No way unless you're genius?

3. Anatomical aspect, use flash cards or stick up a wall poster in your toilet maybe?

A lot of people whining about "Damn, how do I memorize all the freak names?!" The number of new terminologies are too damn HIGH!

Yes, I must admit and agree, however the names do have their origin and somewhat related to each other, like urm, tubercle and tuberosity are closely related, which means projection or protuberance. Try to pick up and don't just pure-memorize.

One tip is that, try to spam those medical terminologies among your course mates, so that they get to your brain quicker. For example as a pickup line, "Your mandible looks defined! or maybe "Wow, your "Orbit" is so well-shaped to lay your pair of sparkling eyes in" Lol, can't believe I just made that up.

4. Get enough sleep, say NO to PILLS nor DRUGS!

Studies show that, Sleep helps build long-term memories, it's a proven fact cause it works on me. So now before you sleep, spam memorize all those anatomical names! One effective way to get them into your brain! Thank me no! ;) Oh yeah, DON'T take adrenaline pills or whatever drugs, their effects are temporary, please don't!

With all tips above, I can't see any reasons why you can't succeed in Human Anatomy & Physiology, lazy is not an excuse!!

The Future is In Your Hand!

Strive for nothing but success!

"It's not what's happening to you now or what has happened in your past that determines who you become. Rather, it's your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you're going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny."

Anthony Robbins

Hopefully, by end of this lens, I've successfully trigger the curiosity-live-within-you. Do feel free to shoot me any questions, I'll more than glad to help you out with Human A&P if you face any difficulties and doubts.

Last but not least, THANK YOU for your time and do give me a thumbs up if you feel it's informative to you.


Much love,

Joey! <3

All the best & Good luck!

All the best &amp; Good luck!
All the best & Good luck!

Before you go,

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    • Joeyyip profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @Zienna1: Yeap Yeap! It's already the 13th Ed. Glad to hear that! Cheers!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow! that long ago already. My Anatomy and Physiology book was only second edition when I started andc now its on its 13th ed. already? I brushed up two years ago on my medical terminology and still got the high marks. I'm always interested on this and been trying hard to get my kids like the subject. Well done!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great information, very good lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This lens is well written with very good content

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Nicely put together! Thanks for sharing! :)

    • Joeyyip profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @anonymous: Super niche? Haha, let me think of something to squid-about! ;)

    • Joeyyip profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @crstnblue: Thank you! Hope you enjoyed it! :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Excellent lens - thoughtful &amp; informative! :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great Lens! Try something super niche next time maybe?? Might be fun.


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