The human body is a complex organism capable of operating, maneuvering and adapting to different environments and stimuli. It is comprised of cells, the smallest living unit of the body, and groups of cells with similar structure and function that make tissue. Groups of tissues that work together to perform a specific function are called organs and groups of organs that contribute to a specific function in the body are referred to as organ systems. These organ systems are responsible for a healthy, functioning human body.
Each organ system is complex and necessary for human survival. If one organ system fails, it effects the remaining organ systems and affects homeostasis. Homeostasis can be thought of as the balance or equilibrium within a cell or the body. And while many believe homeostasis to be a constant state, it is rather a dynamic equilibrium that adapts to changes of the environment.
So what are the organ systems of the body?
Depending on how compartmentalized you need your information, there are 11 or 13 organ systems. These groups of organs and their functions include the circulatory, digestive, endocrine, integumentary, immune, lymphatic, muscular, nervous, renal/urinary, reproductive, respiratory, skeletal and vestibular systems. When each system operates efficiently, the body is capable and less-effected by outside stimuli or environmental factors.
1. Circulatory System
The circulatory system is responsible for the circulation of blood by the heart, arteries and veins throughout the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to organs and cells. The circulatory system is also responsible for carrying cellular waste away from the organs and cells.
2. Digestive System
The digestive system is responsible for the absorption of nutrients and removal of waste from consuming food. This system includes the gastrointestinal tract which consists of the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines.
3. Endocrine System
The endocrine system influences the function of the body by releasing hormones that regulate metabolism, growth, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep and mood. It can be thought of as a chemical messenger system that communicates with every component of the body.
4. Integumentary System
The integumentary system includes skin, hair, subcutaneous fat, and nails. It offers protection from the environment, provides form and individual recognition characteristics and aids in temperature and water regulation.
5. Immune System
The Immune system is a “host defense system” comprised of structures and processes that protect the body from harmful pathogens and disease. This system includes white blood cells, phagocytes and lymphocytes.
6. Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help remove toxins, waste and other unwanted material from the body. It transports a fluid called lymph which contains infection-fighting white blood cells throughout the body.
7. Muscular System
8. Nervous System
9. Renal/Urinary System
10. Reproductive System
11. Respiratory System
12. Skeletal System
13. Vestibular System
Modern treatments, including pharmaceutical drugs, overlook the synergy required by organ systems to accomplish a healthy and efficient body. Active drug ingredients typically require administration of the drug or compound directly to the target area. While Pharmacokinetics does study how a drug is digested, metabolized and excreted, its main focus is how that drug is distributed to its target area. This system negates the symbiosis required by the body’s organ systems which could be why pharmaceutical drugs tend to affect symptoms and miss the origin of a problem.