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Pathophysicology, also known as, Physiopathology is the study of the disruption of normal bodily functions due to disease or injury. It is the study of the biologic and physical materializations of disease as they associate with abnormalities and physiologic disturbances. Pathophysiology does not deal directly with the treatment of disease. Rather, it explains the processes within the body that result in the signs and symptoms of a disease.1

Another way to look at it is to see pathpophysiology as a meeting of pathology with physiology. Pathology describes the abnormal or undesired conditions typically observed during a disease state, and physiology describes processes or mechanisms operating within an organism. Therefore, pathophysiology seeks to explain the physiological processes or mechanisms whereby disease conditions develop and progress.2

According to Stephen J. McPhee and Gary D. Hammer, in their book Pathophysiology of Disease, it is critical for medical students to understand the normal structure and function of the human body, and how theses can become disordered, in order to apply the knowledge of pathophysiology to disease. “Something (eg, a mutation in a gene or invasion by a bacterial organism) triggers an illness, and the body reacts with molecular, cellular, and systemic responses that are the symptoms and signs of the disease. Therefore, with proper knowledge of normal structure and function, and the ways in which these can become disordered, comes the ability to understand disease and to design rational and effective treatment.”3



1. Pathophysiology. (n.d.) In The Free Dictionary. Retrieved from

2. Pathophysiology. (n.d.) Retrieved February 1, 2014 from Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia:

3. McPhee, S. J., & Hammer, G. D. (2010). Chapter 1: Introduction. In Pathophysiology of Diseases.  Retrieved from:

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