the anatomical structure of the human body,


The human body is complex with comprehensive anatomical structure and extensive physiological functioning. The physiology of the human body is such that a person responds to the changes in their environment automatically. Similarly, anatomical organs responds to body changes automatically. Such homeostatic responses enable the human body to prevent harm. Even in the instance of disease, the body’s immune system is designed to fight the infection by all means. In this paper, the structure and functioning of the human body are expounded upon. Further, the essay looks at the physiological processes that take place when one performs an activity, in relation to the cardiovascular, respiratory and the musculoskeletal system. Lastly, the essay looks at some aspects of pathophysiology and the likely physiological changes in the aging process

LO1, Learning outcome: Knowing the structure and functions of the human body in respect to body systems, metabolism and role of the growth hormone

Three of the human body systems include the digestive system, the respiratory and the cardiovascular system.The anatomical features of the digestive system consist of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, liver and gallbladder,pancreas and large intestine. The mouth has accessory organs that help in food digestion; the teeth, tongue and salivary glands. The pharynx, also known as throat, is a funnel-shaped tube connected to the posterior part of the mouth(Chiras, 2011, p1). The esophagus is a well-built tube which joins the throat to the stomach. It is a division of the upper gastrointestinal tract.  The stomach is a muscular sac situated on the left side of the abdomen. In layman’s language, the stomach’s size is two fists placed next to each other. The small intestine is a thin and long tube which is almost 10feet in length and 1nch in width. It is part of the lower gastrointestinal tract and is found in the inferior part of the stomach. It is coiled and inside has many folds and ridges.  The liver is triangular in shape. It is an accessory organ of the digestive system. It is superior to the small intestine and inferior to the diaphragm.  Being the second largest organ in the body, its weight is about three pounds (Chiras, 2011, p1).  The pancreas is a hugegland and is situated both lowerand posterior to the stomach.  It is approximately six inches in length.  Its shape depicts a short, lumpy snake. Finally, the large intestine is a long and thick tube. It is two and half inches in width and 5feet in length. It is found just inferior to the stomach.

In respect to the main functions of the digestive system, it is responsible for taking up whole foods and converting them into energy and nutrients, which allow the body to grow, function and repair itself(n.p, 2011, p1).  The digestive system  performs six main processes; food ingestion, excretion of wastes, absorption of nutrients, secretion of digestive enzymes and fluids, digestion of food into smaller pieces and, mixing and movement of wastes and food through the body.  Ingestion is the intake of food. The digestive system secretes aboutseven liters of fluids. These include mucus, saliva, enzymes, bile and hydrochloric acid, which have their important functions in the body.  Mixing and movement is another part of the digestive system.  This process involves three other processes; swallowing, peristalsis and segmentation(n.p, 2011, p1). Peristalsis is a wave that helps food travel in the gastrointestinal tract. Segmentation is present in the small intestine where small segments help in the assimilation of nutrients by integrating food and increasing its contact with the intestinal walls.  Digestive system also digests food.  Food is broken into chemical components. Physical digestion involves the physical breakdown of food into smaller pieces.

Another body system is the respiratory system which enables humans to breathe.  Breathing involves inhaling and exhaling of air that is, the absorption of oxygen in the body for energy production and the discharge of carbon dioxide out of the body. The respiratory system is categorized into two; the upper and lower respiratory tracts.  The upper respiratory tract comprises of the mouth, nose and the first part of the trachea(Bartholomew, Martini, Nath, 2009, p616). The lower respiratory tract comprises of the other part of the trachea, the bronchiole, bronchi and lungs.  The lower respiratory tract organs are found in the chest cavity.  They are protected and delineated by the chest bone, the rib cage and the muscles between the diaphragm and ribs. The trachea is a pipe that connects the pharynx to the bronchi. It divides into two bronchi. One bronchus leads to the left lung while the other leads to the right lung. Each bronchi divides into smaller bronchiole which lead to the pulmonary alveolus. The pulmonary alveolus is a small air sac demarcated by a single layer membrane with blood capillaries. Blood exchange takes place through the pulmonary alveolus membrane which contains air.  Oxygen is attracted from the air into the blood capillaries and circulated by the heart to the body tissues.  Carbon dioxideis transmitted to the blood capillaries in the alveoli and then expelled through the upper respiratorytract and bronchi(Bartholomew, Martini, Nath, 2009, p617). Exchange of gases takes place on the inner surface of the lungs wherethere is a large space and air sacs.Respiration has two stages, inhalation and exhalation. Inhalation is the intake of oxygeninto the lungs through increase of chest volume. Exhalation is the expulsion of carbon dioxidefrom the lungs through reduction of chest volume.

The cardiovascular system is responsible for the delivery of nutrients into the body and the removal of byproducts from body tissues.  The heart is located at the center of the cardiovascular system. The heart has four chambers which dispense blood into the arteries, which in turn carry oxygenated blood and nutrients to the body tissues. Veins return de-oxygenated blood to the heart. The process of oxygenation and deoxygenating of blood in the heart is repeated many times in a day. The heart has the size of an adult’s fist. It has two sides; the right and left atria. It contains four chambers; the left and right ventricles. The right ventricle pump deoxygenated blood to the lungs while the left pump oxygenated blood to the body. Between the two chambers, there are valves which control blood flow and also ensure that blood flows in a similar direction. The respiratory system also consists of blood vessels, elastic tubes that carry blood in and out of the heart.  These vessels include arteries, capillariesand veins.  The blood is the main component of the cardiovascular system. It is a fluid that consists of white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets and plasma, which contains sugars, proteins and minerals. The red blood cells have hemoglobin that transports oxygen to the cells and also carries carbondioxide to the heart.

Biologically, homeostasis is defined as the “tendency of an organism or cell to control its internal environment and upholdequilibrium, usually by a system of feedback controls, so as to soothe health and functioning”(Tortara & Donaldson, 2011, p23). When all the body needs are met and its functions are normal, the body is usually in homeostasis. All body organs contribute to homeostasis. For homeostatic control to occur, communication in the body is essential. For example, when a stimulus produces a change, the receptor detects the change and responds accordingly. In homeostasis, there are positive and negative feedback mechanisms.  Negative feedback mechanisms consist of almost all homeostatic control mechanisms. Negative feedback changes the variable back to its original state. An example of negative feedback is the control of blood sugar in the blood, when it rises, receptors detect the change and the control center (pancreas) secretes insulin in the blood to lower the blood sugar level. Once the levels are balanced, pancreas tops insulin secretion. Contrary to negative feedback, in positive feedback, the output lowers the original outcome of the stimulus. The output improvesthe original spur. An example of positive feedback is during childbirth.  When a woman is in labor, oxytocin hormone is released to speed up contractions. The enhancement of contractions causes the production of more oxytocin. This occurs until the baby comes out. The birth of the child ends the release of oxytocin and positive feedback mechanism.

Cellular metabolism refers to all biochemical reactions that take place within a cell these processes involve degrading food molecules, synthesizing macromolecules, and generating other molecules likeamino acidsthat are important for the cell (Tapley, 2014, p1). Cellular metabolism relatesto digestive and respiratory systems. Through digestion, large nutrient molecules are broken down into lesser ones that can be engrossed into the blood streams through the small intestine. Cells take up these nutrients and build new molecules which provide the needed cellular energy. In respect to respiratory system, oxygen from the atmosphere in blood stream through lungs and blood vessels. Cellular metabolism depends on digestive and respiratory systems in that, cells depend on the products from these systems(Tapley, 2014, p1).  The nutrient molecules used by the cells are produced by the digestive system. Also, cells burn nutrients in oxygen, which is provided through respiration.

Growth hormone (somatotropin) is a small protein molecule which contains one hundred and ninety one amino acids in a single chain. Its molecular weight is 22, 005 (Tortara & Donaldson, 2011, p45). The hormone causes growth of all body tissues that have the capacity to grow. Growth hormone also causes increase in cell size and increase in mitosis where there is development of a large number of cells as well as particular differentiation of certain kinds of cells such as early muscle cells and growth cells. The growth hormone causes the release of fatty acids from adipose tissues. Therefore, the concentration of fatty acids in body fluids increases.  The hormone also causes the conversion of fatty acids to acetyl coenzyme. It also has the ability to promote fat utilization. Due to its anabolic effect, it leads to increase in lean body weight. In addition, growth hormone leads to decrease in carbohydrate utilization. This is because it decreasesglucose uptake in tissues such as fat and skeletal muscle, it increases liver’s production of glucose and also leads to increased production of insulin. Growth hormone also excites bone and cartilage growth.  It increases the growth of the skeletal frame.  Bones grow in length.

LO2, Learning outcome: Understanding the relationship between body functioning and appropriate, detailed structure and physiology, for instance, body’s coordination of internal activities, blood pressure and glucose relation and acid-base balance.

The physical body responds to digestive, respiratory and cardiovascular systems. The cardiovascular system is important during physical exercise. Physical activity places high demand on the system. Muscles demand a larger percentage of oxygen. The system responds by delivering oxygen to the muscles, oxygenates the blood to the lings transports heat to the skin, conveys hormones and delivers fuel and nutrients to tissues. The body’s digestive system also responds to physical activity.  During physical activity energy is conserved for the muscles. Also, more nutrients are absorbed into the blood stream. Respiratory system responds to physical activity in that during the exercise, the system increase in order to meet the needs of the active muscles.

The effect of a physiologicalresponseof the three body systems, Respiratory system; healthy lungs, increase ventilation during exercise in order to respond to the lactic acid pH level.  Therefore, during exercise, when a person is about to exhaust, both pH and arterial PCO2 fall below the resting level (Tortara & Donaldson, 2011, p77). Duringexercise, the response of the respiratory control is similar to cardiovascular control in that muscleresponse is controlled by a central command to proportionally work with exercise according to the feedback modulation send through the lungs. Cardiovascular system has impact to exercise. Oxygen is supplied to the muscles. In respect to the digestive system during exercise, more nutrients are absorbed to balance the demand of the active individual. As such, more and more nutrients are absorbed into the cells to produce energy.

Muscles contract and relax during exercise, when they contract. The stored glycogen in the muscles is burned into energy.  Relaxing muscles ensures that the original state of the body is restored after the exercise. Production of energy occurs during exercise. Stored glucose (glycogen) is utilized during the muscle cycle to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the muscle’s source of energy(Ward, 2008, p54). Glycogen decreases during exercise as more is used to produce energy. Exercise also leads to potassium depletion. Exercise produces a lot of sweat through which 4-8mmol of potassium is lost.  Potassium deficiency causes muscle injury. Exercise increases potassium loss which in turn causes injury to the muscle tissue.  Symptoms of potassium deficiency during exercise are rapid heart rate, nausea, vomiting, slower reflexes, muscle spasms and weakness and cramping.

Body systems work together to perform a common purpose,an example of how the body coordinates its internal activities is the blood.  The blood is part of the cardiovascular system as it carries digestion products (digestive system) to the cells of the body, excretorywastes to the kidneys (excretory system) and hormones to target organs (endocrine system) such as reproductive system organs. All body systems work together to ensure that homeostasis is achieved. The body coordinates to ensure that all organs function as unit to detect and respond to stimuli, avoid dangers and injuries and also adapt to change. Body systems are involved in thermoregulation and glucose regulation.The endocrine system has glands that release hormones, which are transported in the blood. Structural proteins and cellular enzymes denature if there is high temperature. Also, low temperatures hinder body work and reactions. Glucose regulation is made by the adrenal gland and pancreas. The pancreas responds tom the changing levels of blood glucose. Adrenal gland responds to low blood glucose levels (Ward, 2008, p64). Body’s metabolic processes produce acids. The body ensures that the amount of acid equals the amount of base produced in a day. Acid-base balance is done by the lungs and kidneys.  Kidneys alert the amount of acid or base excreted.  Lungs release carbon dioxide,  which is mildly acidic. By expelling carbon dioxide, which is acidic, this lowers the acidity of blood. Lungs coordinate blood pH. Heart rate controls blood pressure. When the heart rate increases, blood pressure increases and vice versa. The cardiovascular systemand kidneys ensure that heart rate and blood pressure are normal.

LO3, Learning outcome: Understanding how routine data collected in health and social care informs the planning of care for individuals, understanding routine measures for obesity and formulating a care plan for the disease.

Recording routine measures is an evidenced-based practice in nursing. There are principles that guide recording of routine measures. The three dimensions; context, intervention and outcomes are measured.  Patients, carers and clinical staff should acknowledge different perspectives on outcomes and decide which outcomes are desirable(Pincus & Sokka, 2009, p114).  Measuring health status should be a repeat process in order to ascertain any changes.  Validity and reliability of any measure must be known. The data collected should be fed to patients and should be accessible to the nurse attendants. This maximizes data reliability, quality and validity.  Routine measures are important in social and healthcare. Recording routinemeasures ensures that the heart rate of the patient is known at all times when administering care.  Also, recording routine measures ensures that the privacy and dignity of the patient are upheld. Patient’s information is made confidential and also that patients are allowed to make informed decisions. Recording routine measures enables nurses and doctors to identify what the patient is suffering from and therefore given the right treatment(Pincus & Sokka, 2009, p115). Also, the patient’s state and the recovery processare monitored when routine measures are conducted.  Finally, recording a patient’s information ensures easy follow up even when a different nurse cares for the patient.

For obesity, routine tests include;

  • Taking health history; weight history, exercise habits, weight-loss efforts and eating patterns as well as other conditions, stress levels, educations and family’s health history (n.p, 2012, p1).
  • Checking other health problems; such as diabetes and high blood pressure
  • Calculating BMI; the doctor checks body mass index to determine the level of obesity.
  • Measuring waist circumference; the fat stored around the waste.
  • General physical exam; examining height, temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, abdomen and lungs
  • Blood tests; liver function tests, cholesterol tests, thyroid tests and fasting glucose tests(n.p, 2012, p1).

These tests provide information on the presence of absence of obesity and how much weight aperson needs to lose as well as what risks or health conditions one has. This ensures the right treatment.

Different methods are used in testing flu. The less time consuming though less effective method is the Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests which takes thirty minutes or less. It tests, influenza A and B.

  • Specimens used to test flu through this method are NP swab, nasal wash, nasal aspirate and throat swab.
  • The doctor takes a sample from the patient’s back of the nose or throat.
  • He/she does this by swabbing the nose passage or throat.
  • The sample is then sealed in packet.
  • The doctor runs a rapid test.

Care plan for obesity;

  • Weight and blood pressure assessment once a week
  • Temperature check up twice a week
  • Altering current eating strategies and habits to reduce calorie and fat intake
  • Discussing indications which eliminate, promote or reduce eating
  • Keeping a food diary to examine change in feeding habits
  • Regular exercise to lose or control weight
  • Maintaining exercise record to track the duration and intensity of physical activity
  • Modifying lifestyle and behavior to ensure successful weight control and loss
  • Administering orlistat that prevents a third of the fat from food from being digested

LO4: Learning outcome: to relate regular variations in body anatomy and functioning to care received by persons, understanding how age affects body anatomy and functioning, physical changes of the elderly particularly cells, theories of ageing


Intrinsic aging is caused by internal factors and occurs due to declining physiological functions. This may lead to diminished synthesis of elastin and collagen in the dermis.  As the skin continues to age, it becomes thin and easily damaged. The reason why an 85 year old wound would not heal is because the ageing decreases the ability of the skin to heal itself(Stern, 2013, p1). Different factors lower the efficiency of the respiratory system in ageing persons.  Elastic tissue declines throughout the body and decreases the ability of the lungs to deflate and inflate.  The rib cage does not freely move due to arthritic changes. Elasticity reduces and respiratory volume is limited. Ageing also causes emphysemareferred to as emphysema(Stern, 2013, p1). Finally, when a personages, nerve cells receive and transmit messages slowly than before. Also, waste cells build up in the brain and this can lead to formation of tangles and plaques as well as fatty brown pigments. Breakdown of nerves affects the senses and a person develops list or reduced sensations and reflexes. This further leads to problems with safety and movement. Other changes that occur in aperson are delayed thinking, slow in thought and loss or slow memory(Stern, 2013, p1). In regard to the case study of 85-year old woman, if the respiratory and nervous system functioning is altered, the other systems also become problematic and this may cause delay in healing of the wound.

Though arthritis can occur at any age, most people who suffer are 30 years and above. Though arthritis primarily affects the joints by causing reduced mobility, it also affects bodily functions in that it causes the dysfunction of the immune system. Also, it affects the body structure and functioning in that tissue and organs such as blood vessels, lungs, skin, brain and the heart are usually affected. When these body structures are affected, their functions are also reduced. The digestive system is also affected since arthritis can cause inflammation of salivary glands. People with arthritis risk stroke and heart disease. It is believed that arthritis can cause disability. Affected people also suffer from depression, anxiety and sometimes isolation.

The following are physical changes that arise from ageing;

  • The skin becomes wrinkled, more delicate and less elastic
  • Bones become weaker and vulnerable to fractures
  • Vision is altered such that individuals only see close objects.
  • Hearing becomes difficult
  • Taste and smell decrease due to less and less sensitive taste buds. The nose lining becomes drier and thinner. The mouth becomes dry
  • Change in brain function leads to less concentration and lower thinking.

Old cells, regardless of when they last underwent mitosis are similar to young cells(Bengtson, Silverstein, Putney & Gans, 2009, p 58). They are not diverse from those of the young people. However, cells of the elderly do not quite withstand different challenges as young cells. This is due to methylation of cytosine bases near business genes.

Theories of ageing are categorized into two; programmed theories and error theories. Programmed theories postulate that aging has an internal biological clock. Error theories postulate that aging occurs due to external and internal assaults that damage organs and cells so they no longer perform functions properly(Bengtson, Silverstein, Putney & Gans, 2009, p 56). Programmed theories include programmed senescence theory, immunology theory and endocrine theory. Error theories include Cross-linking Theory, Wear and Tear theory, Free Radical Theory, somatic Mutation Theory and Error Catastrophe Theory.


In sum, this essay has looked at the anatomical structure of the human body, in relation to major organs. The organs are complex, a feature that enables them to respond to chances in the environment. The physiology of the human body is also complex, and it enables the body to respond to the environment automatically. Pathophysiological changes in abnormal physiology have also been touched on, like in the case of influenza. Finally, the essay has outlined the changes associated with the process of ageing.


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