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.
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.