What is Homeostasis

The human body is an amazing machine. What sets this machine apart from any other its incredible ability to automatically self regulate and maintain and stabilise its biological systems necessary for survival. This important biological process is called Homeostasis and it describes how the human body maintains steady levels of temperature and other vital conditions such as the water, salt, sugar, protein, fat, calcium, toxins, ph levels and oxygen contents of the blood. All living organisms, from plants to animals, must regulate their internal environment to process energy and ultimately survive. For example, if your blood pressure skyrockets or body temperature plummets, your internal systems may struggle to do their jobs and eventually fail.

Temperature – It is important that the body maintain a relatively constant temperature close to an average value or norm of 37 degrees Celcius. When your body overheats, one of the most obvious physical automatic responses is sweating, which cools the body by making more moisture on the skin available for evaporation. If your body starts to cool down below the 37 degrees the body reduces heat-loss by sweating less and reducing blood circulation to the skin. 

Glucose – Along with fat, glucose is one of the body’s preferred sources of fuel in the form of carbohydrates. People get glucose from bread, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. You need food to create the energy that helps keep you alive. While glucose is important, like with so many things, it’s best in moderation. Glucose levels that are unhealthy or out of control can have permanent and serious effects. The body must regulate glucose levels to stay healthy. When glucose levels become too high, the body releases a hormone called insulin which helps convert glucose into cells we can use for energy. When they become too low, the body converts the glycogen in the blood to glucose.

Skeletal System – The bones of the skeleton system play an important role in protecting the brain, spinal cord, and internal organs and serve as a reservoir of calcium, phosphorous, and other minerals. Calcium, for example, is needed for muscle contraction. Red and white blood cells and other cells of the immune system are made and stored in the bone marrow. The skeleton also makes the movement of the body possible which is important for homeostasis

Toxins -Toxins that can be found in the blood can disrupt the body’s homeostasis. If your body detects that there are too many toxins, it signals the urinary system to ensure that the toxins are excreted.

Blood Pressure – Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood in the arteries as it is pumped around the body by the heart. Blood pressure does not stay the same all the time. It changes to meet your body’s needs. It is affected by various factors, including body position, breathing, emotional state, exercise and sleep.  The body must maintain healthy levels of blood pressure. If blood pressure remains high, it can lead to serious problems like heart attack, stroke, heart failure or kidney disease. The heart can sense changes in blood pressure, sending signals to the brain, which then sends appropriate instructions back to the heart. If blood pressure is too high, the heart should slow down; if it is too low, the heart should speed up.

Nervous system – The nervous system helps keep homeostasis in breathing patterns. Because breathing is mostly involuntary, the nervous system ensures that the body is getting much needed oxygen through breathing the appropriate amount of oxygen.

It is important to emphasize that homeostatic is a normal and automatic reaction and that a steady-state or homeostasis may be maintained by many biological systems operating together. The failure of homeostatic regulation in just one body system will cause conditions to deteriorate and it may be fatal. For the health of an organism, all homeostatic regulation mechanisms must function properly. When our internal conditions are optimal, the body does not need to respond. If an internal condition changes and is no longer optimal, the body works to counteract the change and return conditions to the optimum. 

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