Handbook of Pathophysiology - page 6

Authors: Corwin, Elizabeth J.

Title: Handbook of Pathophysiology, 3rd Edition

Copyright ©2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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Preface

As in both of the previous editions of the Handbook of Pathophysiology, this edition is based on the premise that understanding physiology—how the body works—is essential to understanding pathophysiology—what happens when things go wrong. My goal in writing this text was and is to provide a clear, accurate, and understandable description of health and disease. It is meant to be succinct and readable and to be useful to students and practitioners at a variety of levels. Throughout this text I have tried to share with readers the wonder and respect for the human body that I have enjoyed since the day I walked into my first physiology course as an undergraduate student. The more I learn about health and disease, the more convinced I am that when well, our bodies function magnificently, and when besieged by illness, gallantly and ferociously. I appreciate the teachers—and the patients—I have had throughout my education and career who have helped me learn this life lesson.

As a physiologist and a nurse, I have taught physiology and pathophysiology to many different groups of undergraduate and graduate students, including nursing and nurse practitioner students, physical therapy students, biology students, physiology and bioengineering graduate students, and medical students. I believe this text can be used as a reference and a resource for learners at all these levels. For health care providers working with patients, and for students in the classroom, this text will keep you informed, answer your questions, and—I hope—stimulate your desire to know more.

Content Organization

The format of this edition of the Handbook of Pathophysiology continues to follow the same outline as in the previous books, with section headings of Physiologic Concepts, Pathophysiologic Concepts, and Conditions of Disease or Injury. The text is organized this way because I believe not only that a solid understanding of physiology is essential to understanding pathophysiology, but also that understanding both physiology and pathophysiology is required in order for the symptoms and treatment of any disease to make sense.

New to This Edition

This edition of the text includes 20 chapters, with expanded discussions of cutting-edge research and knowledge in cell biology, cancer, and genetics. The chapter on Neuroendocrine–Immune Interactions (Chapter 7), written and updated by Dr. Joseph Cannon, a world-renowned expert in the field of neuroimmunobiology, is again included. Reading this chapter is sure to make you think long and hard about how our bodies are cross-wired: each part in continual communication with all other parts. Also intellectually stimulating are the updates added to the stress chapter (Chapter 6) by Dr. Laura Cousino Klein. Dr. Klein is an expert in the field of stress and one of the original contributors to the intriguing hypothesis that for females of a species, the classic response of “fight or flight” to an immediate threat is often neither a practical nor an effective choice. Instead, as Dr. Klein describes, the females of a species are perhaps more likely to respond to a threat by incorporating the behavior known as “tend and befriend.” Chapter 6 includes this hypothesis, as well as other advances in the field of stress physiology and pathophysiology.

All of the other chapters in this edition have been updated and expanded as well, based upon the most recent scientific studies and information available. In addition, in the Conditions of Disease or Injury section of each chapter, the Clinical Manifestations, Diagnostic Tools, Complications, and Treatment topics have been expanded. Undoubtedly, this expansion is a result of my personal growth as a nurse practitioner; although I still believe that physiology is the foundation of pathophysiology, I am captivated as well by the challenges of symptom assessment, differential diagnosis, and treatment.

Pediatric and Geriatric Considerations are highlighted with a special design in this edition. As in the previous editions, they are included where appropriate to alert the reader to variations in both normal and pathophysiologic processes in children and older adults. Many of these features have been expanded to include pearls gleaned from practice.

Many of the additions were incorporated as the result of extensive reviews by both students and subject specialists. I thank each of them for their time and expertise.

Special Features

Each chapter includes features designed to assist the reader's understanding of pathophysiology.

  • Key Words are indicated in boldface type and are defined in the text in order to help readers quickly master what can sometimes be a difficult vocabulary.

  • Figures, especially chosen or created for the Handbook, are used throughout the text to visually explain concepts that are not easily grasped by words alone.

  • Geriatric Considerations appear throughout the Handbook to alert readers to the important differences in the physiologic and pathophysiologic systems and conditions of disease or injury in the older adult.

  • Pediatric Considerations highlight developmental, physiologic, and pathophysiologic differences in both wellness and illness in children.

Elizabeth J. Corwin PhD, MSN, CNP