Physiology is the study of life and how organisms function on even the most basic level. The study of physiology involves studying how organisms perform, the systems that make up an organism and the processes of the body. Physiology covers such a broad spectrum that it is commonly divided into three more specific areas of study: bacterial, plant and animal physiology.
To successfully study physiology, a clear understanding of anatomy is required. Grasping the physical make up of a person, plant or animal allows a scientist or student to better comprehend the workings of the systems and processes of an organism. Some physiology topics generally apply to all living creatures, while other areas only relate to certain species.
Physiology provides a foundation for comparing normal biological functions to those affected by disease, stress and other abnormalities. This science is utilized to develop new strategies for dealing with these issues in relationship to the proper functioning of different body systems. Nutrition, digestion, absorption, metabolism and disease are all examined by physiologists in relationship to how a body works.
Scientists who study physiological processes often work with other professionals and apply multiple disciplines to their research including neurology, pharmacology, exercise and sports, cardiology, biochemistry and cell biology. Physiologists most often perform the majority of their work in laboratories for private and government agencies. They may also teach in universities or represent private research firms.