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 This chapter covers human anatomy and the function of body systems. To understand
the location of specific signs or symptoms, it is necessary to examine topographic
 The respiratory system consists of the lungs and the airway. This system functions to
take in air through the airway and transport it to the lungs. In the lungs, red blood
cells absorb the oxygen and release carbon dioxide so it can be expelled from the
 The circulatory system consists of the heart (the pump), the blood vessels (the pipes),
and blood (the fluid). Its role is to transport oxygenated blood to all parts of the body
and to remove waste products, including carbon dioxide.
 The skeletal system consists of the bones of the body. These bones function to
provide support, to protect vital structures, and to manufacture red blood cells.
 The muscular system consists of three kinds of muscles: voluntary (skeletal) muscles,
smooth (involuntary) muscles, and cardiac (heart) muscles. Muscles provide both
support and movement. The skeletal system works with the muscular system to
provide motion. Sometimes these two systems together are called the musculoskeletal
 The nervous system consists of the brain, the spinal cord, and individual nerves. The
brain serves as the central computer, and the nerves transmit messages between the
brain and the body.
 The digestive system consists of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines, liver,
gallbladder, and pancreas. This system breaks down usable food for use by the body
and eliminates solid waste.
 The genitourinary system consists of the organs of reproduction together with the
organs involved in the production and excretion of urine.
 The skin covers all parts of the body. It protects the body from the environment,
regulates the internal temperature of the body, and transmits sensations from the skin
to the nervous system.
 A basic understanding of the body systems provides you with the background you
need to treat the illnesses and injuries you will encounter as an EMR.
 An understanding of some of the changes that occur at different stages within the life
cycle helps you to understand and treat the wide variety of patients you will
 Vital signs change at different parts of the life cycle. It is important for you to
understand these changes so that you will understand the values you encounter in
patients of different ages.