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Examples of Homeostasis in the Human Body

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

The human body is constantly working to maintain an ideal internal state to sustain normal cellular function and overall health. Keeping this ideal state involves several processes, as your body has multiple systems working at the same time. All these processes are collectively called homeostasis. Defined, homeostasis is the property of a system that maintains a stable condition of its internal environment.

The importance of homeostasis cannot be over-stressed. If the state of balance goes off, or when the enzymes and other chemical compositions are not fine-tuned to a perform respective functions, our system would be unable to maintain its normal function. Learning about these processes would make it easier to learn what we can do to preserve homeostasis. Discussed below are several examples of homeostasis in the human body and how they support our day-to-day activities. 

Body Temperature

The normal body temperature is 37 degrees. This temperature is kept at a constant level, thereby the process of homeostasis occurs. An increase or decrease in temperature is indication that a condition is impeding the body from maintaining body temperature. As such, it is indicative of serious complications which can only be verified through tests. A person with a decrease in body temperature will experience muscle failure and loss of consciousness. An increase in temperature causes the nervous system to break down. At extreme changes in body temperature, death occurs. To avoid this, your body must adapt by producing or releasing heat. 

Blood Sugar Concentration

Another one of the examples of homeostasis in the human body is glucose concentration.. A minor change in levels often have insignificant effects in your body, but too much or too little glucose in the blood stream have serious implications. A saturation of glucose is toxic while an insufficient amount leads to weakness and starvation. Glucose fluctuates for a number of reasons. For healthy individuals, something as simple as eating a meal can increase glucose levels while urinating can decrease it. However, the glucose level of patients with diabetes are harder to contain and would require medication. 

Acid-Base Balance

The balance between acidity and alkalinity in the blood is what we refer to as the acid-base balance. This balance, otherwise known as pH balance, is sensitive. Your body will react to the slightest change, that is why strong mechanisms exist to maintain acid-base homeostasis. Outside the acceptable pH range, enzymes fail to function, vital proteins lose their tertiary and secondary structures , and in severe cases death may occur.

The relationship between acids and bases are directly proportional. If the presence of acidic compounds in the blood decreases, body acidity also decreases and vice versa. The same causal reaction applies to alkaline compounds or bases in the blood. Internal organs such as kidneys and lungs are responsible for this homeostasis, along with buffer systems. 

Fluid Volume

The amount of body fluid is another one of the examples of homeostasis in the human body. Homeostasis of fluid is maintained by the excretion or retention of fluid. An excess in fluid volume signals the excretion of more urine and vice versa. Kidneys perform this important function and does so with the direction of the antidiuretic hormone. 

Calcium Levels

Only one percent of calcium circulates in the blood stream. The rest are contained in your bones and teeth. The small percentage in the blood must be kept constant; too much or too little have negative effects. A decrease in calcium levels would trigger the parathyroid glands to release parathyroid hormones. This signals the bones to release calcium to compensate for the loss of calcium in the blood. Conversely, the thyroid gland releases calcitonin if the calcium levels are too high.



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