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What Is the Role of Homeostasis in Humans?

Lack of homeostasis can lead to heart failure.
Homeostatis helps keep the internal organs, and the body as a whole, operating in a normal and efficient manner.
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  • Written By: L. Baran
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2014
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Homeostasis is the collection of processes that maintain a stable, constant internal environment in the human body. It allows all of the organs, cells and other body parts to function as efficiently as possible and requires constant adjustments of hormones, temperature, acidity and other factors. Homeostasis in humans creates an internal balance in response to changes in the outside environment that is vital to an individual's health and well being. The primary areas in which homeostatic regulation occur are body temperature, PH, blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

Body temperature must remain near constant in the body to ensure both individual comfort and the efficient completion of all body processes. Physical activity and liver functions are the primary producers of heat, which is counteracted by mechanisms, such as sweating and blood vessel dilation, in order to return body temperature to its normal level. If body temperature gets too high, tissue and cell damage may result. Temperature is regulated via a serious of feedback loops that react to signals regarding temperature change. These feedback loops are a key feature of many internal systems that maintain homeostasis in humans.

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The PH level, or acid-base balance of the blood, is constantly monitored and controlled by the kidneys. Certain organs require more acidic environments than others to perform essential functions, but the blood plasma must maintain a constant PH level. Similarly, the blood sugar level or amount of glucose present in the blood must be regulated. This is controlled by the pancreas and involves a delicate balance between the release of two key hormones: insulin and glucagon. Failure in glucose regulation mechanisms can result in diabetes.

Blood pressure is controlled not only by functions of the heart, but by the kidneys and other organs too. The amount of fluid within and outside of cells is monitored to ensure that blood flows efficiently throughout the body. Medical management is often required to help the body maintain blood pressure homeostasis in humans, particularly in people of advanced ages or with additional medical issues.

A lack of homeostasis in humans can be catastrophic, or even deadly. Problems with regulatory functions can lead to kidney, liver or heart failure, severe dehydration, and many other types of diseases. Typically, however, humans are able to adapt to a huge variety of different environmental conditions as a result of intricate balancing systems within the body. While most homeostatic operations go unnoticed, they are happening constantly and are vital to health and viability.

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ZipLine
Post 3

@literally45-- I do agree with you that there is an ongoing struggle to establish homeostasis in our body. But the problem is that this creates stress for the system. If homeostasis is lost very frequently, it can turn into a vicious circle where stress prevents homeostasis and lack of homeostasis leads to more stress. The end result is usually disease.

literally45
Post 2

@SarahGen-- If your diabetes is active, meaning if you experience all the side effects of the condition, then yes, your body is not in homeostasis. But your body can return closer to homeostasis with treatment. You have to keep your blood sugar under control and balanced.

Sometimes, it's possible for an individual to have a chronic illness and still be in homeostasis. This is especially true if the illness is not yet active.

Don't be discouraged about your situation. Think of it this way, all of our bodies are constantly trying to adapt to different circumstances. Our body keeps going off balance and then it tries to re-balance itself. This is true even when there isn't a disease.

When we exercise and become hot, our homeostasis goes off balance. It tries to return our temperature back to normal by sweating. This is just one example of the numerous issues our bodies deal with every day.

SarahGen
Post 1

I have diabetes. Does this mean that I will never have a balanced homeostasis?

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