the trick of pathophysiology is to first know the normal physiology. only then can you appreciate what is going on when things get screwed up. when you fully understand the normal physiology, it is much easier to see how a monkey wrench thrown in the works messes up the physiological process. depending on where the monkey wrench lands in the physiological cycle determines what disease and symptoms you get left with. this approach is very important to understanding pathophysiology. outside of that, even i have read, re-read, re-read, re-read paragraphs in my pathophysiology book to grasp major concepts at times--and i am just reviewing information. some of this stuff gets very complex. i have the pathophysiology text by mccance and heuther that is quite huge. not too long ago i was answering a question for a student about the differences between anemias and why some cells were smaller than others yet both were anemic. i had to re-read the information in one or two paragraphs in the textbook over and over quite a number of times before i finally was able to understand what was going on at the dna level.
you may not have to read your entire textbook with such scrutiny. i would use your syllabus and lectures as a guide as to what the instructor considers to be the most important subjects to be covered for tests and then really delve into and attempt to understand those subject areas.
for diseases, diagnosis and treatment i often go to the website family practice notebook at http://www.fpnotebook.com/index.htm
. this is for clinical medicine. in a very nice outline form, and links to other pages of outlines, it gives you the down and dirty on the major medical diseases. the fastest way to find a disease is to use the search box on the home page and click on the return(s) that come up.