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Course Spotlight: Medical Cardiovascular and Muscle Physiology

Ever found yourself lost in the labyrinth of graduate-level medical physiology courses, with course names and descriptions blurring together? Fear not, because we’re here to shed light on each course’s distinctive and essential contributions to the field. 

Today, let’s zoom in on Medical Cardiovascular and Muscle Physiology. This course delves deep into the intricate functions and regulation of muscles and the cardiovascular system. It uncovers how the body adapts to factors like exercise, environmental influences and diseases.  

But what sets Medical Cardiovascular and Muscle Physiology apart, and why should you make room for it in your already packed online course load? Join us as we unravel its fundamentals, explore its relevance for your future career and navigate its course structure. 

What Is Cardiovascular Physiology? 

Simply put, cardiovascular physiology is the study of how the heart and blood vessels work in tandem to pump blood through the body. Let’s dive into some of the basic components of the cardiovascular system: 

The Heart 

Responsible for circulating blood throughout your body, the heart works a 24-hour shift, 365 days a year. It beats approximately 115,000 times a day to ensure blood and oxygen are circulated through the body. 

Hearts have four total chambers, including two upper chambers called atria and two lower ones known as ventricles. The right side of the heart pumps blood and oxygen to the lungs, while the left side delivers it to the rest of your body. 

The Blood Vessels 

You can categorize blood vessels into three main types: 

  • Arteries: These are the biggest vessels and operate like highways, carrying oxygen-filled blood throughout your body. 
  • Veins: After your body absorbs the oxygen from that blood, it filters back to the heart through your veins, which are the equivalent of one-way streets. Veins also filter oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and back into the heart. 
  • Capillaries: Lastly, the capillaries act as tiny side streets connecting arteries to veins. They are where oxygen, nutrients and waste are exchanged between the larger blood vessels. 

What Is Muscle Physiology? 

Muscle physiology refers to the study of how our muscles work and enable us to move. There are three main types of muscles throughout your body, including:  

  • Skeletal: These are the types of muscles you can feel. Take your biceps or quadriceps, for example. Whether you’ve just completed a strength workout at the gym or you’re sitting at the computer reading this article, you can touch your skin and feel those muscles underneath. Skeletal muscles are attached to bone and are responsible for your ability to walk, run and complete other daily tasks. 
  • Smooth: Unlike skeletal muscles, you can’t feel smooth muscles. That’s because they are located inside the walls of your organs to help with internal functions, such as digestion and blood flow. 
  • Cardiac: Like the name suggests, cardiac muscle is unique in that it’s made specifically for the heart. It has the very important responsibility of helping your heart pump blood through your body. 

How Medical Cardiovascular and Muscle Physiology Can Benefit Your Future 

Whether your goal is to become a surgeon or a general care practitioner, understanding each of these physiology subtypes and how they interact offers you a wealth of potential benefits: 

  • Diagnostic skills: Grasping the fundamentals of these specialty areas can help equip you to interpret diagnostic tests related to the heart and muscles, such as EKGs and echocardiograms. 
  • Treatment planning: No matter your chosen medical specialty, a thorough background in cardiovascular and muscle physiology can help you create effective treatment plans for patients. 
  • Interdisciplinary understanding: Cardiovascular physiology and muscle physiology work in tandem daily. As you exert your muscles walking from place to place, they require more oxygen to function properly. In response, your heart rate increases to meet that demand. In addition, many medical conditions involve both systems, so you’ll be better equipped to address the needs of your patients with a formal education in how they work together and separately. 

 How Is Course Content Structured? 

The course content for Medical Cardiovascular and Muscle Physiology is structured into several groups: 

  • Sub-topical lecture groups: The content is organized into groups of lectures, each covering specific sub-topics.
  • Discussion prompts: These are provided to encourage critical thinking and prepare students for problem sets. 
  • Problem sets: Designed to help students master the course material, these are graded take-home assignments that allow open book and open note usage. 
  • Functional genomics research assignments: There are three assignments aimed at integrating physiology concepts with functional genomics and genetic disease understanding. 
  • Self-guided research: These assignments are also completed at home and graded, focusing on the relationship between physiology and diseases with a genetic basis.

The grading scale for the course is broken down as follows: 

  • Problem sets: 30% of the total grade 
  • Functional genomics research assignments: 30% of the total grade 
  • Final exam: 30% of the total grade 
  • Discussion participation: 10% of the total grade 

Explore Courses That Pique Your Interests and Propel Your Career 

When you’re gearing up to apply for medical or graduate school, you want to feel confident in your abilities and be prepared for required entrance exams like the MCAT. But how can you ensure your readiness when you’re working full-time, surviving the world of parenting and balancing school? 

That’s where UF’s online graduate credentials come in. Whether you choose a graduate certificate in medical physiology or a master’s degree in medical physiology and pharmacology, we provide several options to elevate your skillset and prepare you for the next step in your professional journey, be it applying to medical school or jumping directly into the workforce.  

To make the most of your academic journey, it’s crucial to choose the program that best suits your needs and career aspirations. Think of it as a choose-your-own-adventure scenario. Pick the program that fits your schedule, sparks your curiosity and prepares you for a successful future in the field of medicine. It’s your educational journey, and choosing the right program is a significant step toward achieving your goals. 

Apply today!