CONCEPTS

What is physiology?

We explain what physiology is and some main characteristics of this science. In addition, the types of physiology that exist.

  1. What is physiology?

Physiology (from Greek physiology , knowledge of nature) is the science that is responsible for knowing and analyzing the functions of living beings . From the meeting of the principles proposed by the other exact sciences ( physics , chemistry , biology ), this discipline gives meaning to the relationships between the elements that give life to the living being.

The basic unit of living beings is the cell , within it are the components that determine their characteristics and functions. As the cellular structure complexes, the functions expand . Physiology, therefore, is fundamental in its relationship with all parts of medicine, especially with anatomy .

While the second deals with the conformation of the individual (animals, humans , plants, etc.), physiology deals with the functions they fulfill.

The origins of physiology go back many centuries before Christ, when the Greeks used the term to talk about the ‘rules or logic that governs life’ . The figure of Aristotle meant a fundamental transformation in matter , and proposed a new conception of philosophy and human happiness. Aristotle interpreted the Hippocratic precedents of medicine, and understood that everything that exists is composed of matter and form.

Jean Fernel used the concept of physiology to talk about the discipline that studies the functioning of living beings. The existence of a scientific method produced substantial advances in the matter , with experiments carried out in most cases in animals. Claude Bernard believed physiological science as the knowledge of the causes of the phenomena of life in a normal state. He gave importance to experimentation and the fact that theories are contradicting and reformulating.

The interactions made between the parts of the body are governed by laws that are not totally autonomous, but rather the opposite: they are physical, meteorological or electricity issues. If all body functions have to be in balance , physiology will have a lot to do with that state, called homeostasis .

One could mention and characterize a physiology for each of the functions that the human body has, but only a few will be mentioned below, which stand out for their importance:

  • Cardiac physiology.  It has managed to divide the heart as a single organ that has two different systems, one left and one right. The physiology of the heart has managed to understand the movements of systole and diastole, heart rate (with which it was possible to determine the issues of tachycardia and bradycardia), anaerobic metabolism and hypertension.
  • Respiratory physiology. It is the one that deals precisely with this device, responsible for providing the body with a sufficient amount of oxygen. It will then be the circulatory system that is responsible for transport in hemoglobin or plasma. The respiratory movement was understood as the combination of inspiration (the air reaching the alveoli) and expiration (the air flowing outward by pressure in the airways).
  • Physiology of reproduction.  It is understood the set of structures of the body that allow the reproduction , and therefore the conservation of the species, as well as its operation. This is not the same in men and women, each one having its singularities.
  • Physiology of the musculoskeletal system. It deals with bones , tendons, muscles, joints, among others.

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