Homeostasis process refers to the capacity of sustaining a constant internal situation in reaction to environmental fluctuations. It sustains a condition of balancing between constant opposing forces inside of the body. The principles of the process include maintenance of static or constant conditions in the internal environment, maintaining the optimal conditions for life.
The nervous and endocrine systems regulate the homeostasis process in the human body through feedback mechanism (Pitman 2012). This mechanism involves different body organs and organ systems. Control of body temperature, water and electrolyte balance, control of blood pressure, balancing of the PH and respiration are some of the examples of the homeostatic processes in the body (Bailey 2013).
The mechanisms cover positive and negative feedback. The positive feedback would be an expected cause and effect process, nonetheless following the same course of action twice as hard if needed to stabilize the initial state of the organism, like stopping the blood from streaming in case of a cut. The negative feedback mainly notifies the organism that it has been somehow deviated from the mainstream process and needs to set back to its original process. In other words, the organism signalizes that something went wrong by indicating through a specific unusual process, like pressure rizing or heart beat elevation under stress, which will be discussed later in this paper. Each control mechanism in its turn includes three elements that regulate the processes of homeostasis: receptors, the control center and effectors.
First, it contains a sensory receptor. The receptor receives information either about the internal or the external environment. The brain receives the signal through one of the receptors that there is a need for control mechanism to react to the environment. The brain sends the signal to act on it. The role of the receptors is to translate the information of what is happening to the body language, for it to send the response message to the control center. Second, the control centre examines the information and determines if an action is necessary. This control mechanism acts as an evaluator of the initial signal of the brain, and basically desides whether or not a positive of negative feedback should be undergone. Third, the effectors receive the information to make adjustments to the output. After the brain has evaluated which reaction should be occurring, it sends the signal to the body to react, taking either a turn back to the initial state of the organism, or augmenting the power and work twice as hard to finally set on the initial course of the organism. The detectors are the sensory receptors such as eyes, ears, tongue, nose, and skin. The central nervous system acts as the central control system (Sans 2006).
Going into more details, the example of negative feedback loop is a process where the effectors refute the effects of a stimulus to restore balance. For instance, the regulation of blood pressure in the body is an example of a negative feedback loop (Chatterley 1967). Under stress or in case of excitement, the heart accelerates its beat rate and levelling the blood pressure streaming up the blood vessels. The receptors pass the information to the brain. The brain transfers the data to the effectors, the heart and blood vessels. Since a sudden increase of the blood pressure is not a usual behaviour of the organism and brings discomfort to the body, the signal is sent back to the given receptors. This process reduces the heart rate causing the blood vessels to increase their diameter. This makes the blood pressure reduce to the normal scale (Goldstein & IJ 2007).
A positive feedback loop causes the self-amplifying body responses. For instance, a cut injury brings discomfort to the organism and the signal from the receptors is sent to the brain for taking responability and chosing further actions taken by the organism. The organism starts to produce extra substances to help the blood to start cloting, in contrast to the negative feedback where it could lead to obliteration of the clot and continuous bleeding (Goligorsky 2012). However, the blood-clotting process works through positive feedback. It intervenes to induce clotting and reduce the loss of blood. Another example of a positive feedback loop is child birth (Scincejrank.org 2013). When it is time for the baby to come out, the brain starts producing special hormone that begins uttering contractions. As the same time, the brain receives unusual signal from the receptors to act on it, so that the uterus has to increase the contractions to help the child bearing. In such a way, the mother’s body helps the expulsion of the foetus from the uterus, as in contrast of negative feedback reaction would be stopping the contractions and expulsion of the foetus to the external (pc.maricopa.edu 2013).
There is a close relationship between homeostatic maintenance and body growth and development. In addition, no one feels there is something wrong with the body response unless the negative feedback is triggered or the response of the organism is far from natural. The process of homeostasis is integral in maintaining optimal concentration of gases, nutrients, temperature, ions and water. Another homeostatic tool uses pressure-sensitive receptors to control blood pressure (Shier 2009). Homeostatic maintenance mechanisms help to regulate body temperature. For the body cells to survive and function properly, the composition and temperature of the fluids around the cells must remain similar (Buchman 2002) In other words, a sudden raise of the temperature would raise questions and would require to get medical assistance to clear the reasons for its causes.
Homeostasis is important in ensuring physiological growth and development. In addition, homeostasis is a normal behaviour of the organism that inferres that homeostatic imbalance is clearly a result of a particular disease of a decline in the mechanics of the body for the reasons of aging as well. When a person is sick, or gets older the homeostatic processes lose their efficiency, which requires medical interference. The process maintains the internal systems of the body e.g. blood pressure, body temperature, and acid-base balance to remain at the balance, despite disparities in the extrinsic factors. For instance, this helps metabolic processes carried out in the body.
Under normal circumstances, the body metabolic processes that require the chemical reactions for keeping an organism alive and help it grow, reproduce and function normally. Using enzymes as the catalizator, in order for these reactions to occur, a constant environment should be supported. This makes it essential to keep the internal temperature within the normal range (English & Wolf 1982).
In connection of supporting the standards for performing the reactions by the body, the organism has to sustain the necessary water and fluid contents. The process that helps the organism to sustain the necessary state of the fluids is called osmoregulation, and refers to using homeostasis as the way to keep the fluid pressure on the same level. Osmoregulation controlls water capacity in tissue fluid. The osmoregulation ensures the contant environmental conditions from transferring the solutions from one state into the other. In such a way, the leve of sugar is controlled by maintaining the release of insulin substance that is secreted in the islets of Langerhans. Kidneys is a pair organ that allows to regulate the water regulation in an organism by keeping the necessary water by reabsorbing it and prevnt it from being extracted.The above processes are fundamental in physiological growth and development (Ariosto Educational Press Limited 2013).
Homeostasis uses different strategies to redress physiological imbalance. Rectifying of imbalances involves the control of body hormones and other chemicals. The body systems use self-regulating mechanisms to achieve balance through the use of a complex coordination of three principal functions of signal reception, centralized control and action (Menards 2013).
Thermoregulation is an example of a homeostasis strategy to redress physiological imbalance. Internal parts of the body such as the liver create the mainstream of body temperature. If the body starts to increase or decrease temperature swiftly, thermoregulation strategy of homeostasis helps to redress the challenge. The skin undertakes the initial steps in the thermoregulation process through vasodilatation. The skin then increases sweating in case the body starts to increase in temperature, for instance, during exercise. This triggers the rising of the body hairs to form a layer of preventing temperature loss. In addition, the circulatory system also contributes in the process of thermoregulation through contracting the blood vessels near to the skin in cold circumstances (Rosenberg 1996). This helps to reduce loss of temperature from the body. In addition, in case of increasing body temperature, the body widens the vessels to maximize the diffusion of extra temperature (Wise Geek 2013).
The body organs function together to sustain equilibrium. Two of the fundamental systems for sustaining homeostasis are the nervous and the endocrine system. Important functions of the body such as the rate of heart and breathing may be triggered or regulated through the neural control mechanism. The nervous system aids to control breathing, urinary and digestive systems. In addition, it associates with the endocrine system to carry out other functions (McEwen & EN 2003). For instance, a section of the brain triggers the pituitary gland to secrete metabolic chemicals in response to changing calorie demands. Hormones help the body to achieve stability of fluids and electrolytes.
There are different homeostatic challenges expressed in the body systems and physiological changes. The body restricts many constraints to its regulation of equilibrium. For instance, food contents that lack the right nutrients in the right capacities will trigger the body to compensate on the inadequacy or become ill from disorders such as kwashiorkor. Exposure of the body to drugs, alcohol and other toxins triggers the excretory functions into a high scale. This helps the body to fend off these substances from accumulating and damaging the body cells.
In addition, stress and depression can cause problems to the respiratory, cardiovascular and endocrine systems. This can weaken the capacity of these systems to sustain homeostasis. It is also important to note that insufficient sleep can work all of the body systems to extreme scale and disturb the body equilibrium (Flack 2012).
External stimuli such as way of lifestyle can either help or disturb homeostasis.
The homeostasis process has different resolutions for redressing the challenges it faces. Functions in the sustaining homeostasis include capacity of the lymphatic system to resist infection, sustenance of oxygen and optimum pH levels by the breathing system, and elimination of toxins from the blood by the urinary system.
External stimuli involve reactions to the environment surrounding the body. For example, the moment an animal goes to an unaccustomed environment, it will begin to exhibit tentative behaviour. Understanding of the environment makes it controllable and predictable for the animal. A controllable environment implies that the animal can exert an effect on it. In other words, our organism sees even a positive change as a threat to the organism. It is so due to the fact that sudden change of behaviour is a sign that the environment has changed, therefore on a subconscious level our body seeks to either restore the situation by bringing back the initial state, or try to balance it by overexerting specific action performed by the organism.
Controllability and predictability of the environment contribute significantly to understanding the animal welfare (Human End Points 2013). For instance, a response to an external stimulus can be determined in several ways according to reflexes. Responses involve controls such as the eye reflex. It causes the eyelid to close when a substance approaches the eye; the light reflex causes the narrowing of the eye pupil in reaction to light etc. (Human End Points 2013).
Some of the examples of homeostatic strategies to illness or injury may include the control of high sugar level in diabetes mellitus patients, regulation of high blood pressure and blood clotting in case of injuries. When controlling the blood sugar level, the body releases insulin to normalize the glucose level (Marie 2007). In case of low amounts of insulin release in patients, the patient receives artificial insulin to help regulate the blood sugar level. In high blood pressure, homeostatic strategies entail control of the rate of heart beats to regulate the flow of blood in the vessels. This regulation restores equilibrium of the blood pressure. In addition, homeostasis uses the positive feedback strategy to trigger blood clotting in case of injuries (BiologyGuide.net 2013).
There are different homeostatic mechanisms. Examples of these methods are: control of blood pressure, monitoring of the fluid pH and regulation of glucose levels (Encyclopedia 2013). These mechanisms have clear distinctions in accordance to the roles they play to help in maintaining of body equilibrium. The role of the kidneys is to sustain the fluid and electrolyte balance of the body. The main function of the kidneys is to sustain the necessary level of the water in the organism necessary for performing specific bodily functions. The kidneys filtrate the fluid that has gotten into the body to keep the “good fluid” from the “bad fluid”. After the filtration had been done, the kidneys allow the reabsorbtion of the rich fluid back into the vessels, while the shallow and empty fluids are being secreted and transformed into urine, which is stored in the bladder. The unnecessary and fluid that had already been drained out is exited through urethra to leave the body.
The second mechanism of homeostasis is the endocrine system. This mechanism controls the action of glands, cells and other organs of the body. These glands secrete specific hormones which are directly flown with the bloodstream and help perform homeostasis. The glands are performing the primary endocrine fucntions. The hormones that are secreted by the glands serve as a connection to the brain and help to transfere the necessary information through these substances. Some other body organs which do not belong to the endocrine system, such as liver, kidneys, heart, brain perform the secondary endocrine functions, therefore helping the body to perform the process of homeostasis as well.
The brain monitors and regulates the systems in the body. Not only the brain is responsible for receiving and transmitting the signals from the receptors to the organs, but also the brain can monitor the amount of carbon (IV) oxide in the body, the rate of respiration, sleeping or waking nature of the body or temperature control. The brain is the main control center for distributing the orders throught the body to support its life systems.
The fourth mechanism is the PH buffers. These are chemicals the body releases to regulate the PH levels. Our organism is basically a big petri dish where millions of reactions are performed at the same time. On one side of the medal, homeostasis allows these reactions to be performed. On the other hand, the success of the reaction also lies in the correct concentration of the material in each reaction. The PH buffers regulate the PH level of the substances that enter the reactions. For instance, in case of eating too much fat food, or meat the acids in the digestive juice are unable to perform their dissolving functions correctly, which makes a person feel discomfort in the tract. One of the PH buffers normally tends to regulate the overproduction of the acids by the stomach and help the digestion to perform normally.
The fifth mechanism is the circulatory system. The circulatory system executes the function of regulating homeostasis through controlling the rate at which various chemicals move around the body. Blood pressure regulates the rate of diffusion of the chemicals into and out of the body tissues. With the blood, the stream passes the oxygen, hormones, nutriments and other important substances from the heart into the organs throughout the body, and back in a closed circle of network-like circulatory system of blood vessels.
The sixth homeostatic function is the liver. The liver plays an important role being a vital organ that excretes different chemicals at given rates for metabolic process. The liver is a necessary organ to perform digestion and serves as a synthesizer of proteins. It also helps to detoxicate the organism by clearing and enriching the blood that streams into the organs.
Some of the key strategies for redressing the balance of homeostatic challenges is through the use of external chemical supplements such as food nutrients or insulin. Body exercise, rest, and nutrients nourishment can also help to redress some of the homeostatic challenges (Craig 2003).
The circulatory system plays a fundamental role in the body processes. It is accountable for moving ingredients throughout the body (Paradise et al. 2013). For example, the system moves nutrients, water, and oxygen to different body cells. The system also removes unwanted substances such as carbon dioxide. In this way, the body sustains its homeostatic equilibrium (Health, 2013).
The circulatory system encounters three segments: the heart, blood and blood vessels. The role of the blood is to transport oxygen to the blood cells, to remove carbon dioxide from the blood cells, transport hormones to the organs and protect the body using antibodies. For instance, the fluid nature of blood helps it to carry different supplements for the body organs. The blood also contains plasma. Plasma has water, body proteins, mineral salts, nutrients, waste products, hormones and gases.
Blood contains white and red blood cells. Red blood cells represent bi-concave discs with no nucleus. These cells play the functions of exchange of gases. White blood cells contain a nucleus and are bigger than the red blood cells. Their key role is to protect the body against diseases.
Blood also contains the platelets. The bone marrow produces these platelets. They are smaller than the white and red blood cells with a lifespan of about 11 days. The platelets help in the blood clotting process (Bayle 2012). There is an association between the process of homeostasis and the circulatory systems through the link of platelets.
The cardiovascular system comprises different blood vessels: arteries, veins and capillaries. Arteries are thick, elastic and muscular. They pump blood in high blood pressure. The veins are thin and less elastic than arteries. Capillaries are small and thin. They carry blood in slow motion. The heart is the main organ maintaining blood circulation by of pumping blood to different parts of the body. It consists of entirely cardiac muscles.
Breathing is the main function of the respiratory system. It mainly entails the inter-change of oxygen and carbon dioxide between blood and the lungs. People inhale oxygen and release carbon dioxide. After inhalation, air makes its way to the lungs. The blood cells absorb the oxygen. The cells use oxygen to transport nutrients within the body. The breathing structure comprises of the nose and nasal cavity, pharynxes and larynx, the trachea, bronchi, and lungs. These organs play different physiological roles in the breathing process. The nasal cavity provides the passage of air and prevents dust from entering the lungs; the trachea warms the air and allows entry to the lungs.
Mechanical breakdown of food into pieces takes place in the mouth. This ensures easy digestion of food. It also mixes saliva with food. The food then proceeds to the throat, and further to the oesophagus. The oesophagus leads the food to the stomach where the peristalsis process takes place. The stomach releases chemicals and enzymes that maintain the process of digestion. The food leaves the stomach as a paste and proceeds to the small intestine. Here, the further digestion of food using enzymes takes place. The blood cells absorb the nutrients from the food. The jejunum and ileum play a vital function of absorbing the nutrients from food into the cells.
The blood cells move nutrients to the different body organs. They nourish the organs for growth and development. Therefore, digestion system along with other body systems helps the body organs to function effectively. For instance, the pancreas produces enzymes into the ileum. These enzymes break down the proteins, fat, and carbohydrates from food. The liver manufactures a secrete bile and cleanses the blood from the small intestine containing the nutrients. The gallbladder is a pear-shaped storage gland. It helps to store the bile from the liver. The coordination and physiological functionality of different aspects during digestion helps to reach a state of equilibrium. In addition, digestion of nutrients nourishes different organs which is fundamental to the homeostasis process.
The kidneys form the basis of the urinary system. These are two bean-shaped organs. They remove urine and transport it to the bladder for release (Cavort 1972). The kidneys play the role of filtration of blood, fluid balance control, hormone release, blood pressure regulation and PH balance in the blood. The urine goes outside the body through the urethra.
Each organ in the body after performing its function sucks up the nutritious substances and uses them for vital purposes. Nonetheless, all the unnecessary substances can’t be stored in the organism and require to be let out in one way or another. The human anatomy is created in a way that a special system of canals is performing the function of utilization and compiling of the bodily waste for its further extraction. The intestines remove waste from the digestive system. The leftover liquid after nutrient absorption goes through to the large intestine. The colon then releases the waste as faeces.
The musculoskeletal system plays a fundamental role in movement, protection of organs and homeostasis. The system forms the framework of the body. For instance, the muscles attached to this system are crucial in locomotion. Muscles attached to the body joints enable the movement of the body. The system also offers protection to vital body organs. It is also necessary in releasing of red blood cells. The system also stores fundamental body minerals such as calcium. The red blood cells help in the process of gaseous exchange.
The central nervous system is responsible for detection of external and internal stimuli to the body. It works in correlation with the endocrine system to sustain the environment of the body and achieve homoeostatic balance (Martini 2001). The system consists of the brain, spinal cord, nerves and sense organs. The nerves have receptors that send information to the brain through the spinal cord. The brain interprets the information and provides instructions of the course of action. The processes undertaken in the central nervous system have a direct correlation with the body system function and the development of homeostatic maintenance.
Sensory organs are fundamental in the homeostatic balance process. They include eyes, ears, skin, nose and tongue. The eye contains light receptors, and the ear has sound receptors. The skin contains pressure, temperature and touch receptors while the nose contains smell receptors and the tongue has taste receptors (Association 2006). These receptors receive stimuli and send them to the brain for feedback and instructions on the course of action (Johnston 1995). For example, when the eye receives a lot of light through the light receptors, it sends it to the brain. In turn, the brain triggers the contraction of the pupil to reduce the amount of light into the eye.
The body systems function with close inter-relationship as precisely as a swiss clock mechanism to maintain homeostasis. Each other system depends highly on the productivity of the previous. For example, the digestion system relies on circulation system and the central nervous system form a cardinal basis for achieving homeostasis.
There are different physiological requirements including an optimum temperature for enzymes, stable blood pressure, body nutrients, balanced hormones, oxygen in the blood, food nutrients for different body organs and progressive removal of body wastes to minimize toxic substances in the body (Hoyle 1977). Efficient physiology leads to proper body growth and development (Patton 1996).
In conclusion, the body consists of different systems that work synchronically to achieve a state of equilibrium. Homeostasis helps to maintain the body internal and external environment conditions for optimum functionality. This process works through a set of different systems and body organs that exhibit adaptive anatomical and physiological features in functioning.