What is Homeostasis?
Nature is perfection. Without any external influences such as those that man has exerted on nature, all this were meant to work in perfect order, balance and harmony. This is not only true when applying to the external environments. It also applies to internal environments in all naturally occurring things, plants and animals. When this balance and order of perfection is disturbed, nature has its own mechanisms that are meant to restore the previous state of harmony and it normally succeeds. However, where the interference is too severe or where the damage has affected critical resources, the restoration may fail and this means death to the system in question.
Homeostasis is a term used to refer to a state of balance and equilibrium of the internal systems in a living organism. Similar to external environments, the internal systems of living organisms work hard to achieve homeostasis. This is a state of wellness that indicates all is well and it usually requires certain ideal external conditions. However, since perfect external conditions are not possible the internal systems of living organisms have to adopt both physical and chemical processes to try and achieve homeostasis. Being able to maintain homeostasis indicates a state of health while inability to maintain a stable internal condition will be indicative of ill health. An important aspect of homeostasis is the ability to balance internal as well as external conditions. The internal systems will often have to respond to the external circumstances if proper health is to be maintained.
Maintaining the internal systems of a living organism in optimal condition is a continuous process. Homeostasis is therefore an on going processes through out life. The more complex the organism, the more complex its homeostasis processes. These processes are what trigger both physical and chemical reactions or preventions that help protect the organism from external extremes. In rising temperatures the body will begin to sweat so as to counter the potentially damaging effects of excess heat to the body. All these homeostasis processes involve three stages. The first stage is stimulation, where a receptor senses a change in the environment. Once the stimulation is received, it is transferred to the control center which in most animals is the brain. Once the control center has processed everything, a signal is sent to the effectors that now action the process that will restore balance in the system.
Homeostatic imbalance is one of the more common causes of illness and death. Once the internal balance is disturbed, there is no way through which the organism can survive. Advancing age is one of the leading causes of homeostatic imbalance as all parts of the system that is useful in homeostasis will normally perform poorer in older organisms. Many diseases and conditions are as a result of homeostasis. Dehydration, gout and diabetes are some of these diseases and conditions that affect human beings as a result of homeostasis. The importance of a properly working homeostatic system cannot be over emphasized, since we cannot survive without the internal balance that homeostasis brings about.