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How Does the Human Body Maintain Homeostasis

Do bones maintain homeostasis with vitamins and minerals? What does homeostasis mean? How Does the Human Body Maintain Homeostasis?..Here's some of the interesting facts about Homeostasis.

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How Does the Human Body Maintain Homeostasis

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To remain healthy, our bodies must be regulated in a constant state of internal balance, under ever-changing conditions. The term used to describe this process is homeostasis. Many of the mechanisms involved

in this interplay between ourselves and our environment can be thought of as separate and individual control systems, each with its own specific job to do, and which together form one overall system that is responsible for all our bodily functions.

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For example, all the cells of the body are bathed in fluid which supplies their nourishment and carries away waste products. The characteristics of this extra cellular (outside the cell) fluid must remain nearly constant to enable the cells to live and work properly. Homeostasis is, therefore, a state of co-ordination which maintains the normal functions of the body until one or more of its systems get out of balance. When this happens, all the cells of the body suffer, and disease or ill-health is the result.

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A healthy body is able to resist disease and to repair and adapt itself to compensate for injury or stress, but in illness this control is lost. Susceptibility to flu, for example, is largely determined in this way, which explains why not everyone who is exposed to the illness will ultimately come down with it.

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It is easy to imagine homeostasis in engineering terms. All the control and regulating systems of the body act by a process of “negative feedback”, in which the ‘output’ of a given process is monitored by some other element. When the ‘output’ rises or falls beyond the desired limits, a part of it is diverted back to the source

to act as a control.

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A familiar domestic example is the thermostat which controls a central heating system. If the temperature of the room falls below the setting on the thermostat, an electrical circuit is completed which switches on the boiler and pump to circulate hot water through the system. When the desired temperature is reached, the thermostat switches everything off again. However, unlike the central heating system, the body always has several different mechanisms available to perform similar tasks in different ways, thus providing ‘fail-safe’ back-up systems.

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There are several thousand control systems in the body which are coordinated to regulate virtually every function. The most vital regulators through the body are the nervous system and the endocrine system. Because they are so closely interrelated, and each is necessary for the function of the other, they are sometimes referred to jointly as the neuroendocrine system.

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The part of the nervous system primarily concerned in homeostasis is known as the autonomic nervous system. This is involved with the automatic regulation of such organs as the heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, bladder, sex organs and blood vessels.

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The endocrine system is much slower to react to a situation, but its effects last for some time, whereas the autonomic nervous system produces rapid responses, which are only sustained as long as necessary. Sometimes they work independently of each other, and often they work together, depending on the nature and severity of the problem. One example of homeostasis which makes use of several systems is the regulation of the volume of water in the body.

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The body is made up of approximately 70 per cent water, with certain tissues-such as the grey matter in the brain-containing up to 85 per cent, and other tissues-such as fat layers-only 25 per cent. It is also the basic substance of the body’s major transport system, blood, which is 80 per cent water. Under certain circumstances the amount of water in the body falls. Fortunately, the body has the necessary machinery to tell us when we need water. Thirst is a basic human drive; when we feel thirsty, the body is signaling its need for water. The volume of water we then drink in order to satisfy the body’s need is dependent on how much water the body has lost.

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The main control center for our sense of thirst is deep in the brain, in the hypothalamus, the control center of the autonomic nervous system. Small groups of nerve cells in this gland are sensitive to the amount of water in the blood. If the amount of water in the blood compared to the amount of salts and other substances diminishes, these cells are stimulated and, in addition to producing hormones which make the kidneys conserve water, produce the sensation of thirst.

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Comments (4)

Very informative well presented useful write my friend, thank you.

Informative and brief. fb, tweet and stumbleupon you as usual.

Angela Faith

This article is dynamic. I love the charts also. Thank you for sharing.

Very well written, Sir. An excellent article.

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