The study of physiology requires some familiarity with the basic concepts and terminology of chemistry. A knowledge of atomic and molecular structure,the nature of chemical bonds, and the nature of pH and associated concepts provides the foundation for much of human physiology.
The structures and physiological processes of the body are based, to a large degree, on the properties and interactions of atoms, ions, and molecules. Water is the major constituent of the body and accounts for 65% to 75% of the total weight of an average adult. Of this amount, two-thirds is contained within the body cells, or in the intracellular compartment; the remainder is contained in the extracellular compartment, a term that refers to the blood and tissue fluids. Dissolved in this water are many organic molecules (carbon-containing molecules such as carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids), as well as inorganic molecules and ions (atoms with a net charge). Before describing the structure and function of organic molecules within the body, it would be useful to consider some basic chemical concepts, terminology, and symbols.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.