What Are Anatomy and Physiology?


Quick Answer

Anatomy is the study of the bodily structure of living organisms while physiology deals with the functions of the organisms. Anatomy and physiology are classes commonly required in medical school.

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Full Answer

Students in anatomy will learn about the structure of and relationship between the parts of the body. There are different subsets of anatomy, including:

  • Gross anatomy, which is the study of body parts that are visible to the naked eye. Some examples are the heart and lungs.
  • Histology is the study of tissues at the microscopic level.
  • Cytology studies cells at the microscopic level.

Physiology students study the functions of the body as a whole as well as the functions of the different body parts. Neurophysiology is the division that studies how the nervous system functions. In a college or university level anatomy and physiology course, there are four main themes that are normally covered.

  • The structure and function of the body and their relationship.
  • How the body maintains a stable internal environment, also known as homeostasis.
  • The levels of organization in the body, covering everything from the most basic chemical levels up to the more complex organs and organ systems.
  • The integration and relationships of the different systems within the body and how they work together in unison.

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