How do you maintain homeostasis, in general? On a hot day? On a cold day?

Homeostasis occurs when chemical and physical conditions are stable within an animal’s cells, tissues and organs. There are two ways of maintaining this balance. These mechanisms are used for conditions such as pH, ion concentrations and pressure, but let’s look at them in respect to temperature. Some animals use conformation, which is when their body temperature is the same as the environment in which they live. Others utilize regulation, where they use mechanisms to maintain a set internal temperature. For regulation to occur, a negative feedback system with sensors, integrators and effectors bust be in place. Through this process, the environment is detected, the information is processed, and a response to changes (if necessary) is triggered.

Humans use regulation to maintain homeostasis, and are considered endothermic homeotherms. This means that we are able to warm our own tissues and that our body temperature remains relatively constant. On a hot day, we utilize mechanisms such as sweating to keep our body temperature from increasing too much. On cold days, we are able to keep warm by metabolizing. Heat is a by-product of metabolism and mammals have the ability to produce enough of it to warm to body.


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