Homeostasis and Negative Feedback Mechanism

Alfred Ajibola - Thu, 21st March, 2019 @ 13:55: PM

Introduction to Homeostasis:

Have you ever wondered why on a sunny day you drink a lot of water and tend to produce lesser urine? On the contrary, think about how likely you will produce more urine on a cold day and drink less water too. This is because some processes are constantly ongoing inside your body and they are very necessary for your survival. Now, imagine a person who has fever; his or her temperature will be abnormally high. The person may sweat abnormally or even urinate abnormally. On your part, you will suspect that some processes are not working right inside the person. Medically speaking, for a person to be physiologically healthy, the conditions and processes inside his or her body must be cearfully and properly controlled. This internal control is what homeostasis is all about.

Homeostasis can be defined as the regulation and maintenance of a constant (or nearly constant) internal environment. It is brought about by the nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the endocrine system (hormones). It is these systems that coordinates all homeostatic processes or activities. These two systems brings about homeostasis through a mechanism called the negative feedback mechanism.


Negative feedback Mechanism:

To explain what a negative feedback mechanism is, imagine yourself walking down the road on a sunny day. You are most likely to sweat. Your sweating is good for you because this how the homeostatic process tries to cool your body from the sun's hot rays. What the sweat does again is that it helps lowers your body temperature. All of these are occurring because walking under the sun will potentially increase your body temperature, and that can be dangerous if not properly controlled. Also, notice that your urination will be much more less on this day. This is because you are already losing water and salt (through sweating), thus attempting to make up for your water loss. Again, you are very likely be drink a lot of water on this sunny day as you begin to feel very thirsty. (This thirstiness results from homeostatic processes and it's aim is to compensate for the water loss which resulted from sweating.

All of these homeostatic processes in the above paragraph will continue on and on. If not checked,  it might become detrimental to the your health. For instance, from our above example, you can't continue to sweat forever because that will not be good for you. "Now, what seems to be a solution at the beginning of our example can now potentially increase temperature, which may be somewhat disastrous). This is where the negative feedback mechanism comes into play. Negative feedback mechanism therefore allows the increasing product of a pathway to be controlled, decreased or put into check. It generally causes a decrease in the function of a process.

We will discuss more on homeostasis including the organs involved in homeostasis in a further article. Thanks for reading and stay tuned.😎

Topics in Biology

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