Q:

Why is homeostasis important to organisms?

A:

By maintaining homeostasis, organisms remain healthy, strong and stable, with protection from the attacks of foreign organisms, such as viruses, bacteria and fungi. Homeostasis enables organisms to remain balanced while living in constantly changing environments.

By definition, homeostasis is the tendency of a system to maintain internal stability. It is essential to life in higher animals. When the external temperature rises, the human body responds by forming perspiration to maintain core temperature of 98.6 F, at which the body functions best.

In the human body, the endocrine and nervous systems control homeostasis. The organs and organ systems provide feedback to the brain. The body maintains homeostasis through maintaining temperature, balancing pH, maintaining a balance between electrolytes and water, respiration and maintaining blood pressure.

When a person ingests a meal containing large amounts of electrolytes, such as table salt, the nervous system senses the electrolyte imbalance. The brain sends signals to the body to retain water to maintain the electrolyte balance. Physically one may notice swelling in the feet as well as thirst. As the individual drinks fluids, he dilutes the electrolytes. In response to the increase in water, the cells release the water they were holding to maintain homeostasis. The kidneys then filter the excess fluid and electrolytes from the system.


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