Physiology for Medical IT Professionals

PACS Training - Medical Basics 101

Medical Physiology

Professionals involved with supporting the diagnosis and treatment planning must be aware of the physiological role performed by the organ systems. The medical physiology of the various systems is given below:

Skeletal System

The main function of the skeletal system is to impart strength and protect the major organs (brain, heart, etc.) from injury. The hard structures provide an area for attachment of the muscles that allow movement. Additionally, the skeletal system acts as a reserve for minerals and nutrients. 

The soft bone marrow inside the bones is also responsible for the maturation and development of blood cells (red/white blood cells, and platelets).

Muscular System 

The main physiological roles played by muscles include:
Contraction And Relaxation

The thin actin and myosin filaments that comprise the muscle’s structure are responsible for the contraction of the muscle. The binding of actin and myosin filaments constitutes the contraction mechanism. The detachment of these filaments requires energy (in the form of ATP).

This contraction and relaxation allow for :

  • Movement (locomotion)
  • Maintenance of blood vessels’ lumen (achieved by smooth muscles)
  • Pushing of the food in the gut (GIT muscles)
  • Pumping of the blood to the body and lungs (heart muscles). 

Integumentary System 

The main physiological role of the integumentary system is to provide a physical barrier against external pollutants, irritants, and toxins. 

The integumentary structures also help maintain an optimal internal environment (heat, temperature, fluid levels, etc.) i.e. homeostasis. 

Lymphatic System

This system imparts a lot of crucial physiological roles. Production of immune cells (B and T lymphocytes) is done by this very system, therefore, it is the most important part of the immune system. 

The lymph is also responsible for carrying and absorption of fats from the small intestine and through the body. The network of lymph channels also collects the blood plasma that leaks into the cells and returns it to the heart.

The associated organs (spleen, thymus, etc.) play a part in removing microbes and toxic wastes, and the maturation of immune cells.

Nervous System 

The nervous system is the electrical system that works by the conduction of electrical impulses. There is a broad range of physiological functions performed by the nervous system.

All types of sensations (pain, pressure, proprioception, heat, etc.) are felt due to the nervous system. Homeostasis is maintained by nervous controls. Involuntary and voluntary control of the muscles (skeletal and smooth) is also achieved by this very system. 

Cognition, thinking, and emotions are controlled by the brain. The 12 pairs of cranial nerves innervate the important structures (muscles, bones, joints) of the head and neck region.

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