Maintaining Homeostasis

Maintaining Homeostasis

Maintaining homeostasis is absolutely imperative for an organism to stay healthy. Homeostasis is nothing but the body's capacity to control its inner environment in a physiological manner. This is mainly to affirm that the body is stable, even if there are variations in the weather and external environment.
Bodytomy Staff
Our body is like a treasure trove and is an amazing thing to explore. In summers, it gets used to the heat with a bit of an outside help, and similarly in winters, it adjusts its clock and the functions so that we are not drastically affected by the cold weather. All this is a result of the process called homeostasis, which is also called equilibrium in other words. In short, it is the 'balancing act' performed by our body. It is our body's ability to adjust itself internally and physiologically, in response to the external environmental changes. Maintaining homeostasis is necessary to ensure health and wellness.

Explanation
To maintain homeostasis means that the body is responding internally to the changes outside (like weather). It is basically a perfect harmony of the proper functioning of our internal organs. However, the foremost contenders and warriors who maintain this balance are the kidneys, liver, and brain. The kidneys are responsible for controlling blood water levels, re-absorption of substances in blood, and regulation of salt and ion content in the blood. Moreover, excretion of urea and other wastes is controlled by the kidneys. On the other hand, the liver performs the functions of stabilizing carbohydrate metabolism and removal of toxic substances. Brain is the master of all the functions, controlling the autonomic nervous and endocrine systems, which help in retaining homeostasis. This, in turn determines the metabolism of our body.

Process of Maintaining Homeostasis in Humans
This process is regulated by three vital organs: the kidneys, liver, and brain. These regulate the temperature, iron content in our blood, retention and production of energy, and overall blood composition.

Temperature
We are warm blooded beings, and our body is such that it retains more or less constant body temperature. Temperature control is the most important aspect of homeostasis. It is also the easiest mechanism to understand. When it is hot, we sweat to keep our body cool. When it is cold, our body maintains the temperature by shivering. This is termed as thermoregulation. Muscle contractions mainly produce the heat required by our body. Eating right and exercising helps in retaining equilibrium. Homeostasis during exercising is maintained by sweating, and also by being a bit out of breath, which increases our lung capacity.

Iron
This element is very essential for our well-being, but at the same time, controlling it is equally important to have a good health. Iron is associated significantly with red blood cells and hemoglobin, and its deficiency can cause anemia. This element is an electron donor, as well as an acceptor, which makes it unique and inevitable for any living being. Just as iron deficiency can cause problems for gaining and retaining perfect health, the overdose can also cause serious health problems. This whole process is called human iron metabolism.

Energy
Balance of energy is a very essential parameter in human beings. The energy equation is - Energy intake = internal heat produced + external work + storage. The unit is called calorie. 1 kilogram calorie is needed to increase the temperature of 1 liter water by 1 degree Celsius. This also includes proper functioning of the digestive system.

Composition of Blood
Our vital nutrients are supplied to our body through blood circulation. Blood contains glucose or blood sugar, fats, minerals, etc.
  • Osmoregulation is regulating the osmotic pressure of the bodily fluids for maintenance of the balance of body's water content. Simply put, this procedure prevents the fluids in the body from becoming either too concentrated or dilute. Basically, osmotic pressure is the representation of the tendency of water to move from one solution to another, through osmosis. So, the higher the pressure, more is the tendency of the water to dissolve in a solution.
  • Stable and normal blood pressure is also important where homeostasis is concerned.
  • Acid content is controlled by the kidneys by keeping tabs on the pH level of the blood plasma. This is how the acid base homeostasis is maintained.
  • Similarly, calcium levels are also crucial in proper homeostasis.
  • Fluid balance of the body is maintained by the kidneys. Anti-diuretic hormones are normally secreted in less amounts, and if the blood is excessive in fluid, the secretion of these hormones increases. If the carbon levels in the blood are high, it becomes acidic.
  • Finally, there is an aspect of blood called hemostasis - a bodily mechanism through which our bleeding is stopped. Coagulation is a major part of this mechanism. Platelets accumulate, causing blood clotting in case of an injury, to prevent blood loss on account of tear in the blood vessels.
Sleeping and taking rest is another aspect, which has to be taken care of to achieve homeostatic balance. All these processes in combination are inevitable for maintaining homeostasis.

Important of Maintain Homeostasis
If our body is unable to maintain homeostasis, it will eventually cause death. This situation is called homeostatic imbalance. When negative feedback, (which decreases the output or activity of an organism, to get back to its normal range) overpowers, and destructive positive mechanism takes over, a heart attack may occur. This imbalance may also lead to dehydration, diabetes, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia,etc.