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Saladin: Anatomy & Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function, Third Edition_

2. The Chemistry of Life


Saladin: Anatomy & Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function, Third Edition_


Cholesterol crystals photographed in polarized light


The Chemistry of Life

Atoms, Ions, and Molecules 56

  • The Chemical Elements 56
  • Atomic Structure 56
  • Isotopes and Radioactivity 58
  • Ions, Electrolytes, and Free Radicals 59
  • Molecules and Chemical Bonds 61

Water and Mixtures 63

  • Water 63
  • Solutions, Colloids, and Suspensions 65
  • Measures of Concentration 66
  • Acids, Bases, and pH 67

Energy and Chemical Reactions 68

  • Energy and Work 68
  • Classes of Chemical Reactions 69
  • Reaction Rates 70
  • Metabolism, Oxidation, and Reduction 70

Organic Compounds 71

  • Carbon Compounds and Functional Groups 71
  • Monomers and Polymers 72
  • Carbohydrates 72
  • Lipids 75
  • Proteins 79
  • Enzymes and Metabolism 82
  • ATP, Other Nucleotides, and Nucleic Acids 85

Chapter Review 88


  1. 1 Medical History: Radiation and Madame Curie 58
  2. 2 Clinical Application: pH and Drug Action 68
  3. 3 Clinical Application: "Good" and "Bad" Cholesterol 78
  4. 4 Clinical Application: The

Diagnostic Use of Isoenzymes 82

2.5 Clinical Application: Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids 87

Saladin: Anatomy & I 2. The Chemistry of Life I Text I I © The McGraw-Hill

Physiology: The Unity of Companies, 2003 Form and Function, Third Edition

56 Part One Organization of the Body

Why is too much sodium or cholesterol harmful? Why does an iron deficiency cause anemia and an iodine deficiency cause a goiter? Why does a pH imbalance make some drugs less effective? Why do some pregnant women suffer convulsions after several days of vomiting? How can radiation cause cancer as well as cure it?

None of these questions can be answered, nor would the rest of this book be intelligible, without understanding the chemistry of life. A little knowledge of chemistry can help you choose a healthy diet, use medications more wisely, avoid worthless health fads and frauds, and explain treatments and procedures to your patients or clients. Thus, we begin our study of the human body with basic chemistry, the simplest level of the body's structural organization.

We will progress from general chemistry to biochemistry, study of the molecules that compose living organisms—especially those unique to living things, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and nucleic acids. Most people have at least heard of these—it is common knowledge that we need proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals in our diet, and we should avoid consuming too much saturated fat and cholesterol. But most people, too, have only a vague concept of what these molecules are, much less how they function in the body. Such knowledge is very helpful in matters of personal fitness and patient education, and is essential to the comprehension of the rest of this book.

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

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.

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