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Before beginning any course in life science, a basic knowledge of chemistry and physics is important. Chemistry is the basis for homeostasis, the dynamic interactions between anatomy and physiology. All matter, living and nonliving, can be broken down into 92 natural and 20 manufactured elements (Cohen & Wood, 2000). If you lower the temperature of water (normally a liquid) so it freezes, it changes to a solid (ice); if you raise the temperature of the water so it boils, it becomes water vapor (steam, a gaseous state). If you pass a direct electric current through a sample of water, however, a different change occurs.
To study body structure and function, an understanding of the vocabulary used in the healthcare field, commonly called medical terminology, is necessary. Learning the meaning of a medical term is easier when you break it down into its components. A combining vowel (usually o) joins a root to another root or to a suffix, for example, thermometer (therm = heat; meter = measuring device). Although the root is the core of the word, a prefix or suffix can totally change its meaning. Key Concept Healthcare professionals use medical terminology to communicate assessment findings, diagnostic test results, and other pertinent information.
Now that medical terminology has been introduced, you are ready to apply these terms to body structure and function. Medical texts often present the body from a standard reference point known as anatomic position. In addition to viewing the body in terms of planes, the body is also described by the relationship of one body part to another. The abdominal cavity can be divided into more precise areas containing specific organs by two different methods. The second method uses the costal (rib) margins and pubic bones as horizontal dividing lines for three major regions. FIGURE 15-3 · (A) Body directions assist in describing the location of organs or body positions. This is a rare disorder of the esophageal muscle causing difficulty swallowing and regurgitation of food.
The prevalence rate of the condition is about 1 to 2 per 200,000 persons with equal gender distribution. As mentioned earlier, the disorder is mainly characterized by problems in swallowing or dysphagia and reflux of undigested food as well as fluids.
There are three functional components of esophagus that usually work in coordination to enable proper digestion of food. The uppermost section comprises of the esophageal sphincter, a ring of muscle forming the upper end of the esophagus and separates it from the throat. The middle segment of the esophagus is longer in length and propels the saliva-laden food towards the stomach.
The lower section of the esophagus is also present with a sphincter, which normally remains closed to impede the undigested food and gastric acids in the stomach from flowing back into the esophagus.
Another cause of acid reflux is an increased tone in the lower esophageal sphincter, abbreviated as LES, which leads to narrowing or tightening of the lower region of the esophagus. The medical history of patients can provide a lot of diagnostic information based on which the condition is suspected.
Visualization of the anatomical structure of the esophagus can be done by using a chest X-ray. In this procedure, patients are made to swallow a barium solution while being exposed to a fluoroscope.
It is perhaps the best method for evaluating the esophagus in case of persistent regurgitation of stomach acids. The endoscopic procedure covers the entire upper region of the gastrointestinal tract, including the duodenum. It is often carried out along with endoscopy to study the small sample of esophageal tissue. The technique enables physicians to measure the reflux of acid from the stomach into the esophagus.
A varied range of treatment options are available for decreasing the pressure within the lower esophageal ring and permit proper passage of food into the stomach. Certain nitrates such as isosorbide dinitrate and nitroglycerin aid in relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter are found to be useful.
This is a useful endoscopic procedure that typically enlarges the lumen of the esophagus and corrects its motility.
Botox injections are usually given to geriatric patients due to their poor state of health.
A better cure for a dilated esophagus is Heller myotomy, a surgical procedure usually performed laproscopically through the chest. The use of acupuncture therapy can calm the esophageal muscles and treat acid reflux when conventional treatment options yield poor results. Some esophageal irritants can cause esophagitis, an inflammatory condition of the esophagus. This cross-section shows the layers of skin, from the epidermis on the surface to the underlying fat. Many of us have experienced the sting of a bad sunburn and the itchy, peeling skin that follows.
Scientists have been trying to better understand how these sensations occur on a cellular level.
Pain and itch are both forms of nociception, the sensing of danger through stimulus from the environment. Scientists took this connection between pain and itch as another clue that the two are related, but they still weren't sure whether itch was simply dulled pain or a distinct sensation.
Xinzhong Dong and his team at Johns Hopkins University found neurons containing both TRP and Mrgpr receptors transmitted itch instead of pain.
Scientists made these findings by turning off different types of receptors in mice, which have a similar nervous system to humans.
Dong explains that these findings indicate that neurons containing only the TRP receptor process pain sensation. The results also suggest that pain circuits can inhibit itch circuits, so only one signal is sent at a time — explaining why pain and itch rarely happen simultaneously. Today, researchers are pursuing drug compounds that directly block pain and itch receptors to deliver more targeted relief with fewer side effects. This Inside Life Science article was provided to LiveScience in cooperation with the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health. Define the following terms relating to body direction: superior, inferior, anterior, posterior, proximal, distal, ventral, and dorsal. Identify the basic structural elements of the human cell, describing the functions of each element. The body is made up of atoms, molecules, and chemicals, and is approximately 45% to 75% water, depending on age and sex (see Table 17-1).


Chemistry is the science concerned with the structure and composition of matter and the chemical reactions these substances can produce. Homeostasis means physical and emotional equilibrium (balance) and involves an individual’s cumulative chemical reactions, physical condition, and emotional status.
When atoms of two or more elements react chemically with one another, they form a substance called a compound.
A mixture is a blend of two or more substances that have been mixed together without forming a new compound.
The water gradually disappears because the electric current causes water to break down into its two invisible gaseous elements: hydrogen and oxygen. So much is involved in medical terminology that it is often considered to be a separate course of study. Medical terminology texts list roots combined with a vowel; this form is known as the combining form.
Appropriate and effective communication, as well as coordination of client care, is demonstrated by correct knowledge of the language of medicine. The first method divides the abdomen into four quadrants, using the umbilicus (navel) as a central crossing point for the horizontal (from side to side) and vertical dividing lines.
The central area above the costal margins is referred to as the epigastric (epi = above; gastr = stomach) region. Know all about this condition, including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options. When dysphagia occurs, affected individuals get a feeling of food sticking in the lower neck or chest. The sphincter prevents the backflow of food from the esophagus, and relaxes with swallowing in order to permit the ingested food along with saliva into the mid-esophageal section. Waves of muscular contractions through the esophageal body, known as peristaltic movements, reach the lowermost sphincter for letting food into the stomach.
In fact, an affected individual can be subjected to elevated resting pressure in the lower sphincter even when there is no swallowing. While some medical experts believe that an underlying infection can impair the activity of the esophagus, others assume the role of a genetic factor in the development of this condition. Constant reflux of food, together with chest pain and nocturnal cough, suggests the possibility of esophageal aperistalsis. The test reveals a dilated esophagus behind the sternum with a narrow end similar to a bird’s beak. Doctors observe that the esophagus not only appears abnormally enlarged but even fails to exhibit normal peristaltic movements. The main goal of this clinical procedure is to measure the pressure generated by the contracting esophageal muscles.
A flexible tube fixed with a light and camera at the end can be guided through the esophagus into the stomach for inspecting the internal conditions.
An abnormal increase in the muscle tone and absence of the myenteric plexus explains the cause of dysphagia. To perform this, a thin plastic catheter is inserted into the esophagus as the patient swallows. Besides this group of drugs, calcium channel blockers such as nifedipine and verapamil reduce the high pressure in the lower-most muscle of the esophagus.
Difficulty in swallowing as well as refractory acid reflux should not be ignored and must be immediately checked by an experienced health professional. Keratinocytes, cells that start the transmission of sensory signals, live at the lower level of the epidermis near the dermis. For decades, scientists suspected that pain and itch were the same thing, only expressed at different intensities: Itch was just light pain, and pain was strong itch. Recent studies funded by the National Institutes of Health show that pain and itch stem from a complicated process involving many types of neurotransmitters, chemicals that transfer nerve signals to the brain, and receptors, cell surface proteins that accept those signals. At a basic level, pain tells the body that there either has been an injury or that one is imminent. Cells called keratinocytes live at the base of the epidermis, the surface layer of the skin, and send sensory signals to nearby nerve endings. The same pain receptors exist on nerve endings inside the body, producing the sensation of an achy muscle or stomach cramp. This meant a response to capsaicin (ball-and-stick molecular model) evoked itch instead of pain in those neurons. The researchers found two families of receptors on nerve cells that receive signals from keratinocytes: TRP receptors mediate pain and itch, and Mrgpr receptors mediate histamine-independent itch. On the other hand, neurons containing both the TRP receptor and the Mrgpr receptor transmit itch signals. All Rights Reserved Primary Medical Terms Primary medical terms enable you to prioritize terms in your study of medical terminology. All Rights Reserved Question The ilium is part of the hip bone, and the ileum is part of the small intestine. Many chemical reactions are organized and result in specific independent, yet interrelated, actions. However, the chemical composition is still H2O in any of the three states in which it occurs. Examples of combining forms are hepat-o (pertaining to the liver), oste-o (pertaining to bone), and neur-o (pertaining to nerves). For example, epigastric means “on the stomach,” whereas hypogastric means “below the stomach.” The suffix is added to clarify, to make a new word, or to change the meaning of the root. Microscopic anatomy requires the use of a microscope or other device.) The study of how the body functions is called physiology. The central area below the pubic bones is referred to as the hypogastric (hypo = under) or suprapubic (on the pubis) region. The esophagus, also called food pipe, is a long tube that connects the pharynx with the stomach and produces mucus to facilitate swallowing.
In esophageal achalasia, however, the smooth muscles lining the lower esophagus exhibit impaired peristalsis and impact the function of the sphincter.
Deterioration of the esophageal muscle as a serious repercussion of an autoimmune disease cannot be ruled out.
This is evident when the contrast agent passes slowly into the stomach, owing to a sphincter dysfunction. Here, a flexible plastic tube is passed through the nostrils, down the back of the throat and finally into the esophagus as the patient swallows. The most remarkable finding of the technique is a sudden obstruction of the tube in the lower esophagus.
The presence of acid in this region of the gastrointestinal tract can be detected with a sensor fixed at the tip of the catheter.
Not many patients receive proper benefits from oral drugs and may get only temporary symptomatic relief. The method involves excision of the muscles of the lower esophageal sphincter, which minimizes the pressure, and allows proper passage of food and liquids.
Before swallowing, the food must be chewed properly for greater secretion of saliva, which naturally neutralizes the stomach acids and helps prevent heartburn. As chances of developing dysphagia again are high, a long-term follow-up may prevent its recurrence.


A major goal of this line of research is to find better ways to tackle chronic pain and itch conditions, which often persist despite use of soothing medicines. Nociception is the reason why we feel a burning sensation when we get too close to a flame. If skin were a stone wall surrounding a town, then keratinocytes would be the watchtowers that alert the townspeople about approaching intruders. Histamines are a critical part of the allergic reaction that we feel with a mosquito bite or with hives. All elements have specific letter abbreviations, some of which are used in healthcare settings. Familiar types of chemical changes are the processes of burning (combustion) and the rusting of iron (oxidation). Note the two uses of o as a combining vowel: joining two roots, and joining a root and suffix.
Nursing requires knowledge of body structure as well as how these structures relate to and function with one another. When viewing anatomic pictures or diagrams, the right side of the body is on the left side of the drawing (the same as looking at a person facing you). These divisions result in the formation of four quadrants or rectangles referred to as the right upper quadrant (RUQ), right lower quadrant (RLQ), left upper quadrant (LUQ), and left lower quadrant (LLQ) (Fig. The retrograde motion of the food can lead to sleep interruption and choking due to entry of the food into the throat. Therefore, the lower-most muscle of the esophagus fails to relax and remains closed causing regurgitation of food. In certain instances, there could be high peristaltic waves in the lower esophagus as a swallowing reflex.
Affected patients absolutely show no muscular contractions in the lower half of the esophagus, indicating the inefficiency of the lower sphincter to relax. Many healthcare givers advise administration of botulinum toxin to patients already suffering from pulmonary or cardiac disorders.
Adequate consumption of water and avoiding late-night eating are the additional measures for preventing acid regurgitation. Itch, clinically known as pruritus, signals that there is an irritant or potential toxin around.
The nerve endings transmit the signal through circuits of multiple nerve cells toward the brain.
They only go as far inside the body as the mucous membranes, such as inside our nostrils or throat.
Nurses must be knowledgeable about these concepts because caring for clients involves looking at individual body systems and how alterations in one system affect other systems.
In chemical reactions, substances change into other substances that no longer have the same chemical structures as before.
Therefore, electrocardiogram means “a record of the electrical activity of the heart.” In comparison, an electroencephalogram is “a record of the electrical activity of the brain” because cephal-o means head or brain. An awareness of normal anatomy and physiology is important before the nurse can begin to understand abnormal conditions, such as disease or injury.
However, these rapid muscular movements may not be able to exert sufficient force to push the food into the stomach.
Proper coordination of the nerves is essential for the sphincter to relax and eventually open and elicit peristaltic waves in the esophagus.
The LES pressure remains elevated even on swallowing and do not undergo any significant reduction. The head of the bed can be raised to 30 degrees as most episodes of acid reflux occur during sleep. But the majority of chronic itch doesn't involve histamine, making it difficult to medicate. These elements and their symbols are carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), sulfur (S), and calcium (Ca). An atom of one element differs from that of another element owing to the arrangement of its subatomic particles.
Completely rusted iron no longer has the same characteristics as iron; burned wood is no longer wood, but ashes and gases. Degeneration of the nerves prior to the inflammation of the esophageal muscles can disrupt the function of the lower esophageal sphincter.
Proton pump inhibitors that function as potent acid reducers are given to patients on a life-long basis. In fact, that sort of histamine-independent itch is a common side effect of pain medications such as morphine. Individuals working in some areas, such as the laboratory or pharmacy, use information related to the cellular, molecular, and chemical aspects of the body. Elements found in very small amounts, but which are vital to human life, are sodium (Na), chlorine (Cl), potassium (K), iron (Fe), and iodine (I).
For instance, a hydrogen atom has one proton and one neutron forming the nucleus, with one electron whirling around it. The oxygen atom has eight electrons and eight protons, which because of its specific electrical charge, can combine with only two hydrogen atoms. The food- sticking sensation is, therefore, directly attributed to anomalies in the esophageal muscles and sphincter at the lower end of the esophagus.
However, it carries health risks like muscle rupture and scarring that can be surgically repaired. The latter procedure entails wrapping and suturing of the fundus of the stomach around the lower end of the esophagus.
Use of citrus-rich foods, chocolate, ketchup, caffeine and alcohol must be strictly avoided as these are the contributory factors to acid backflow. Other individuals, including physicians, nurses, and therapists, focus more on body structures and normal and abnormal functioning of complete body systems.
Other elements found in trace amounts in the body are fluorine (F), chromium (Cr), manganese (Mn), cobalt (Co), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), selenium (Se), magnesium (Mg), and molybdenum (Mo). An oxygen atom has a nucleus composed of eight protons and eight neutrons, with eight electrons whirling around it (Fig.
Often, the abdominal cavity is subdivided again into the abdominal and pelvic portions or is referred to as the abdominopelvic cavity.
An appropriate balance of excitatory transmitters like acetylcholine and substance P, and inhibitory transmitters such as nitric oxide and vasoactive intestinal peptide can maintain the LES pressure. The pressure in the lower esophageal sphincter shifts to the upper region of the esophagus, forcing it to close and thereby prevent acid reflux.
All healthcare professionals share a basic understanding of body structure and function and use common terminology when communicating. A shortage of nonadrenergic, noncholinergic, inhibitory ganglion cells is known to disturb the balance of the neurotransmitters. This topic briefly introduces medical terminology, chemistry, and the science of anatomy and physiology.



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