We explain what homeostasis is and some examples of this balance. In addition, the types of homeostasis and why it is important.
What is homeostasis?
Homeostasis is the balance that occurs in an internal environment . Also known as “homeostasis,” it is the tendency of any system , including living beings , to adapt to changes and maintain a stable and constant internal environment.
This balance is produced from adaptive responses that are intended to preserve health . Homeostasis is carried out from the feedback and control processes . When an imbalance is generated within the organism , these two processes allow to recover the lost balance.
Homeostasis is characterized by its continuity, for which it needs the registration and regulation processes of various parameters. In addition, its efficiency varies over time in living beings .
In organisms, homeostasis depends on both the external environment (the link between the living being and the environment in which it is found) and the internal environment (the generation and elimination of certain substances or wastes).
Examples of homeostasis
Homeostasis processes are observed in various situations, such as:
- Perspiration. In this process the secretion of liquid substances on the skin is recorded. The evaporation of these substances helps to cool the body and reduce the increase in internal temperature .
- Breathing . Since breathing is an involuntary activity, the nervous system must intervene to maintain its balance. This guarantees the levels of oxygen that the body needs to stay alive.
- Run away from the sun Faced with extreme sun exposure that can be recorded, for example, in a desert , cold-blooded animals take refuge in cool spaces. This response helps lower body temperature.
- Regulation of blood pressure. In this case, the balance is produced from a signal that the heart sends to the brain after detecting any change in blood pressure. If the pressure is very low, the heart should accelerate it while if it is very high, it should decrease it.
- Acceleration of breathing This process aims to increase the amount of air breathed. This is activated, for example, when a person does physical activity or sport , which reduces blood oxygen levels. It can also be started when the body is immersed in an environment with low oxygen concentration. During this balancing process, not only does breathing accelerate, it also increases the speed of the heartbeat and increases blood pressure. All this improves the irrigation of oxygenated blood.
- Maintenance of glucose levels. In this case, the equilibrium process aims to maintain adequate glucose levels so that the human being remains healthy. Given very high levels of glucose, the pancreas releases insulin while if those levels are too low, the liver transforms blood glycogen into glucose.
- Water levels In living beings, water represents an important percentage of its composition, so maintaining its balance is vital. Its balance is maintained to prevent excess water from exploding the cells or, due to lack of water, those same cells reduce their size.
- Regulation of blood pH . Homeostasis occurs, in this case, from the disposal of acids that endanger the appropriate level of acidity in the blood. The waste is generated through biochemical control and different surveillance systems.
- Tremor. This process of homeostasis occurs when the body registers a decrease in ambient temperature, which is counteracted by a tremor in the muscles.
- Urinary system. This system is responsible for eliminating, through urine, toxins in blood that affect homeostasis.
- Lymphatic system activation. The lymphatic system is activated when a virus or bacteria enters the body. Under these circumstances, the lymphatic system counterattacks those viruses or bacteria to ensure the health of the body.
- Sun exposure. This process of homeostasis is recorded in reptiles , which lack the ability to regulate their internal temperature autonomously. Because of this inability, cold-blooded animals are exposed to the sun and that helps them energize their metabolisms and increase their body temperature.
- Calcium control In this equilibrium process, parathyroids release hormones to increase calcium levels, and to reduce them fix calcium in the bones.
Types of homeostasis
Faced with the interactions that the body maintains with the environment in which it is found, three types of responses can be identified:
- Regulation. Before a change in the environment, the body triggers compensatory actions to keep the internal environment fairly constant.
- Avoidance. This equilibrium process seeks to reduce the impact of environmental changes in the organism through behavioral escape mechanisms to avoid temporary environmental or environmental changes.
- Accordance. During this equilibrium process, the organism changes along with the changes that occur in the environment.
Importance of homeostasis
Thanks to the fact that homeostasis aspires to the search for balance, it is that organisms do not enter into a state of entropy , that is, chaos.
If homeostasis processes for any reason fail, disease or death of the organism occurs . If the organism fails to maintain its biological parameters within the limits of normality, a disease occurs that can lead to the death of the organism in question.