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Homeostasis in the Human Body

Shalu Bhatti Apr 17, 2019
For a healthy life, we need to bring a balance in the way we lead our lifestyle. Homeostasis is nothing but a mechanism which helps the human body maintain a balance between the internal and external environment. Here is a brief explanation about this mechanism.
"Yet this is health: To have a body functioning so perfectly that when its few simple needs are met, it never calls attention to its own existence."Bertha Stuart Dyment
How true is the aforementioned statement! Our body is one of those brilliant machines which never attracts its attention towards us, as long as its little and simple basic needs are fulfilled. Science is trying to understand the human body functioning and its mechanisms, and has―to a great extent―succeeded in this endeavor.
However, there is still a lot more to be discovered and understood about this self-sufficient machine that carries out its task so smoothly that everything can be taken care on its own, unless, pushed to extremes. Homeostasis is a mechanism which helps our body regulate internal ideal conditions, while it deals with external environmental conditions.

➠ What is Homeostasis?

The answer to this question is as simple as it is complex! By definition, homeostasis is nothing but the body's capability to regulate and control the inner environment physiologically, so that the body functions under a constant stability when exposed to certain fluctuating conditions in the external environment.
The endocrine system and the nervous system of the body play a major part in maintaining homeostasis. In simpler words, you can say that it is nothing but maintaining an equilibrium between the internal environment of the human body and the external environment that it is exposed to.
Our body is complex and is made from many cells which form together to make a tissue, which form together to make an organ, which form together to make a system, and so on. Therefore, maintaining an equilibrium and catering to the needs of each and every individual cell is not an easy task to do. No wonder our body is a super machine in itself!

➠ Examples to Clarify this Mechanism

You are sitting under an air conditioner (AC) and are rubbing your hands to keep them warm. Why? The inner body needs to regulate a specific temperature for it to work smoothly. However, the external environment (AC) reduces your body temperature, and to maintain equilibrium, your brain signals you to rub hands to help raise the temperature to normal.
Another example of homeostasis is when we sweat due to excessive temperature due to the hot and sunny weather, as an attempt to cool our body; sweat is released from the skin pores to balance the excessive heat.
The examples mentioned earlier were everyday examples. But, what happens when our body encounters an infection? The production of white blood cells, which helps fight against infection, increases immediately!
On the other hand, when there is drop in the blood sugar levels, the body automatically signals us to eat something to maintain an equilibrium. All these signify the human body's attempt to maintain a balance within the external as well as the internal environment of the body.
It goes without saying that without the presence of homeostasis, our body would be more vulnerable than ever. If it wasn't for this mechanism, then the defense mechanism of our body and its ability to adjust under extremely diverse situations would come to an end. It would result in many health issues including diabetes, hypoglycemia, dehydration, etc.
The homeostasis process consists of both negative and positive feedback. Negative feedback is when the body slows down its activity to come to a normal range, like slowing down the digestion process so that all the organs get sufficient oxygen.
Positive feedback is when the body increases the activity to maintain an equilibrium. Example: Increasing the production of white blood cells during an infection.
In conclusion, just go through the following quote, which in a way, reminds us of the unrealized neglect that our we make our bodies go through.

"What fools indeed we morals are
to lavish care upon a car,
with ne'er a bit of time to see
about our own machinery!" ― John Kendrick Bangs
Now that you are aware of the meaning and importance of homeostasis in the human body, Hope that you will do all that it takes to take care of your own machinery!
Disclaimer: This is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for expert medical advice.