Anatomy & Organs

Head – structure, function & diseases


The head is the uppermost part of the human body. This lies on the neck and is also connected to it. The head has many important functions, contains important sensory organs and a large part of the central nervous system.

What is the head

The head , Latin caput, is the uppermost part of the human body and the foremost part of the animal. It consists of both bones and organs. The important functions include protection against external influences and access to the digestive and airways.

This is where food intake is carried out and the various bodily functions are coordinated. The head contains the brain , which is protected from external influences by the bony skull. The important sensory organs such as eyes , nose and ears are also located here.

The brain receives stimuli from these sense organs and processes them. In the front part is the face , which also participates in a person’s facial expressions and beauty. In most cases there is hair in the back and upper area. The outermost area is covered with skin , which is also one of the sense organs.

Anatomy & Structure

The head is anatomically divided into different regions. They simplify the description of the location of pathological changes. These include the cheek, chin, nose, mouth, orbital, parotid and zygomatic regions, among others.

Externally, the head is covered by skin and hair . The skull is the bony framework of the head and forms a cavity. It consists of 22 bones that are differently shaped. These bones, with the exception of the lower jaw, are connected to each other and form one body.

The brain and the many sense organs are protected by this bony foundation. The skull sits on the cervical spine and is movable. The face forms the front part of the head. It is formed from the skull and includes the nose, eyes, and mouth .

Facial hair is more pronounced in males. One ear is on each side. The ear consists of three parts. The outer, middle and outer part. In addition to the cranial and oral cavity, there are also other cavities in the interior of the head. These would be roughly the eye, nasal, and paranasal sinuses .

Tasks & Functions

The head looks different in each person, but performs the same function. This contains and protects many important organs that control the entire body. Located in the cranial cavity, the brain is part of the central nervous system . Here the various sensory impressions are processed and complex bodily functions are coordinated.

The head also houses the important sensory organs such as eyes, ears, tongue , nose and skin. When information in the form of stimuli hits them, the corresponding information is transmitted to the brain with the help of nerves. The brain processes these stimuli so that the human or animal perceives them consciously. This is how emotions, characters, ways of acting, bodily reactions and drives are created.

In addition to these functions, the head also acts as a gateway to the digestive tract , allowing for food and fluid intake. Food, in turn, provides important nutrients necessary for survival. The enzymatic breakdown of carbohydrates begins in the mouth. The opening to the airways is also located here and allows oxygenated air to be inhaled.

Furthermore, the mouth is also involved in speaking and allows interpersonal communication. The face, which consists of the front of the head, provides information about a person’s state of mind. And that with the help of facial expressions, in which all areas of the face are involved.

The main also reduces the penetration of unwanted particles and toxins. This function is promoted with natural bacteria in the saliva , which decompose foreign bacteria. Nose hairs make it difficult for dust and dirt to get in. The hair on the back of the head varies in thickness and serves to protect against the cold.

Complaints & Diseases

Illnesses and complaints in the area of ​​the head can affect all regions. The bones as well as the sensory organs and the brain can be the reason for this. It can be an acute or chronic, congenital or acquired disease.

The pathological condition can be inflammation, infection , tumor , impairment, degradation, and loss. These can include vessels, tissue, bones and nerve cells. Starting in the brain, the cause of severe headaches can be high blood pressure .

Disturbances in the regulation of the circulatory system or the balance organs can cause dizziness . After a stroke , half of the face, arms and legs are usually permanently or temporarily paralyzed.

Various neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease lead to brain degradation and prematurely deteriorate cognitive performance. Other neurological diseases such as epilepsy or multiple sclerosis worsen and make quality of life more difficult.

In multiple sclerosis, the myelin sheaths that cover the nerve fibers are attacked and irreversibly destroyed. Since the central nervous system is involved, almost any neurological disability can develop. Typical symptoms are blurred vision and a reduction in eye mobility.

Accidents with serious head injuries can cause concussion or contusion of the brain. A fractured skull is also possible.

There are also very many types of eye diseases that can be both mild and serious. Visual disturbances, glaucoma , conjunctivitis and stye are just a few examples. Furthermore, the sense of smell and hearing can be disturbed or absent. Another common complaint is sinusitis .

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.