Physiology is...

Physiology is the study of how the human body works both when you’re healthy and when you’re not. When you’re sick or injured, normal physiology is disrupted. Physiologists often work as part of a team with medical care providers, pharmaceutical companies and other related professionals. This integrative physiology approach brings together a joint understanding of the body’s systems in a “whole body” approach to help us stay as healthy as we can throughout our lives.

Physiology is generally divided into 10 organ systems that perform different functions in the body. Each body system works with the others to keep us alive. Let’s look at the main body systems that physiologists study a bit more detail.



Cardiovascular System

Cardiovascular 200Your heart and blood vessels make up your cardiovascular system. The cardiovascular system’s job is to pump blood around your body, bringing oxygen and other nutrients to the cells and removing waste products.

Digestive System

Digestive 200Many organs, including the stomach and intestines, make up your digestive system. The digestive system breaks down the food you eat into nutrients your body can use.

Endocrine System

Endocrine 200Glands located throughout the body make up your endocrine system and secrete chemicals called hormones. The endocrine system regulates the internal environment of the body, including growth and metabolism.

Immune System

Immune system and virus 200A series of defense mechanisms that protect your body from outside invaders and diseases makes up your immune system.

Muscular System

Muscular 200Your muscles make up your muscular system, which allows you to move, stand upright and breathe..

Nervous System

Nervous 200The brain, spinal cord and a system of nerves that extend throughout your body make up the nervous system. It’s a control center for all the other physiological systems and allows other body systems to communicate with each other.

Renal System

Renal 200The kidneys are the main focus of the renal system. The renal system regulates fluids in the body, filters toxins from the blood and excretes waste.

Reproductive System

Reproductive 200Sex organs called gonads and other supporting organs make up the reproductive system. The goal of the reproductive system is to produce offspring to ensure the survival of the species.

Respiratory System

Respiratory 200The respiratory system consists of your lungs and a system of airways that connects your lungs to the outside of your body. The respiratory system’s job is to bring oxygen into your body and to remove carbon dioxide.

Skeletal System

Skeletal 200Your skeletal system is made up of your bones, joints, cartilage and connective tissues. This framework gives structure to the rest of your body.

ISpy Physiology Blog

Physiology is built on concepts that explore how different areas of the body work together and answer questions, like why we itch or why women have a harder time losing weight than men. Physiologists also study how outside factors influence your health, such as how living or traveling in high altitudes can affect your gastrointestinal system. American Physiological Society members write about a wide range of topics, including how enjoying a glass of wine could protect your heart, and what space travel does to astronauts’ bodies, on the I Spy Physiology blog.


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