One crucial part of the anatomy that pharmacy assistants may learn about is the integumentary system.The integumentary system acts as a barrier for the body and is made up of the skin, hair, nails, glands and nerves.
Curious about how the integumentary system protects the body? Read on to find out more.
The Integumentary System Protects the Body from Overheating
The integumentary system stops the body from getting too hot or too cold by responding to changes in temperature. The nervous system continuously monitors the body’s temperature and sends signals if there is a significant increase or decrease.
During a pharmacy assistant course, you will learn that if we get too hot our body reacts in a number of ways to help reduce our temperature back to its base level. For one, our glands secrete sweat which cools us down as it evaporates off the skin.
A Pharmacy Assistant Course Will Teach You How Skin Protects the Body
The skin is the largest organ of the body. It’s an important part of the integumentary system and acts as a physical barrier between the body and outside elements like wind, water, and UV sunlight.
The skin is made up of the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis, and is the first layer of defense in the immune system. The epidermis is the outer layer of the skin and is about a tenth of a millimeter thick, apart from at the palms of the hand and soles of the feet where it’s thicker. The dermis is the middle layer, and the hypodermis is the inner layer.
As well as acting as the body’s armour, the skin also synthesizes and absorbs vitamin D when exposed to UV light. This works with the digestive system to ensure the body can absorb calcium and phosphorous for healthy bones.
Students at pharmacy assistant school will learn all about how the skin and other parts of the integumentary system respond to various drugs, vitamins, and other treatments, and what advice they need to give to customers when administering prescriptions.
The Role of Hair in the Integumentary System
The human body is covered in hairs, and these are also an important part of the integumentary system. Our hair helps to protect the body from UV radiation by preventing sunlight from hitting the skin directly.
Body hair also plays an important part in regulating body temperature. If we become too cold, the hairs stand on end to trap heat close to the body, whereas if we’re too hot, they sit flat on the skin.
How Do Glands Protect the Body?
The integumentary system includes various glands which perform different actions. The most common are the eccrine sweat glands. These secrete a mixture of water and sodium chloride when we’re too hot to cool us through evaporation.
The sebaceous glands produce sebum, which is an oily substance that protects hair and skin.
The ceruminous glands can only be found in the ear canal, and are responsible for producing earwax. This protects dirt and dust from entering the ears,and also helps to lubricate the eardrum.
The Integumentary System Becomes Less Effective with Aging
As we get older, the integumentary system becomes less effective. The epidermis becomes thinner, the dermis loses its ability to regenerate and the hypodermis loses its structure and fat stores. This means that scars can take a lot longer to heal,and also results in the wrinkling of the skin. Older people may also produce less sweat, meaning that they are less protected against overheating.
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