What Is the Role of Homeostasis in the Human Body?

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  • Written By: Brandon May
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2014
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Homeostasis in the human body is designed to keep certain variables and factors constant, helping prevent drastic deviations in normal bodily processes. There are many roles for homeostasis in the human body, such as regulating blood sugar and blood pressure and keeping inflammation under control. Some health experts believe there are also mechanisms within the body that help keep body weight at a set level despite temporary changes in food consumption. Body temperature is another example of one of the many roles homeostasis plays within the human body.

The term homeostasis describes the ability the body has to maintain an equilibrium, or a constant balance of certain variables. An example of one of the roles of homeostasis in the human body is the process of blood sugar regulation, a process well-known among patients dealing with diabetes. Within the body, blood sugar, or blood glucose, must remain stable and must reach healthy levels after eating. Insulin is the hormone responsible for returning blood sugar levels back to normal after consuming a meal that elevates blood glucose levels, helping to bring the body back into alignment.

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Blood pressure is also kept in a healthy balance by certain factors within the body and brain, helping prevent abnormal blood flow and pressure against artery walls. When factors like stress, diet or lifestyle threaten to bring blood pressure out of balance, things like meditation or medication are often used to return the body to homeostasis. Often, an individual can change lifestyle behaviors to change these factors that might push homeostasis out of balance. Most doctors and medical experts agree that medical interventions are necessary to regulate homeostatic controls when lifestyle modifications fail to bring results.

Body temperature is another factor that must be controlled through homeostatic mechanisms for the regulation of bodily health; however, this is not often a worry among most healthy individuals. Some specialists believe that one of the roles of homeostasis in the human body is the maintenance of weight and body composition, including fat and muscle content. It is theorized that the human body has a set point, or set weight, that is determined by an individual's metabolic rate. This is only a theory, and doesn't take into account the effect of strict dietary and exercise factors that can influence body composition.

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