What is Homeostasis?

The concept of homeostasis refers to a series of processes that take place within our body. They are processes that allow us to maintain a balance between our internal environment and the environment.

The word homeostasis comes from the Greek, where homoios means equal and stasis, stability. It is a concept first described in 1926 by scientist Walter Cannon.

This set of processes is essential for survival, as they allow us to adapt to all the changes that occur in the environment in which we live. For example, temperature changes. In this article, we explain everything you need to know about homeostasis.

metabolic flexibility
Metabolic flexibility is an adaptive response by an organism to maintain energy homeostasis by matching fuel availability and demand.

What is Homeostasis?

As we have already mentioned, the concept of homeostasis refers to the tendency to maintain stability within our body. That means, It is the ability to adapt to changes occurring abroad.

Actually, that term it contains all the self-regulating mechanisms that we possess. These mechanisms cause a dynamic balance to exist, which varies according to the environmental conditions. We emphasized temperature homeostasis earlier, but another example is glucose concentration, for example.

Homeostasis is necessary because our body has pretty narrow limits.. In the case of temperature, if we were unable to regulate our body temperature, we would be totally vulnerable.

If we were in a place where it is very hot, our body would not be able to control it. Doing so would also raise our temperature, which it would end up damaging all our tissues.

How does it work?

To understand homeostasis, we will explain the example of temperature. Most of the processes that enable homeostasis work thanks to negative feedback. It consists in acting in contrast with the signal that triggers them.

That is, let’s imagine that the body temperature rises because it is very hot outside. What would happen is that our body would try to lower the temperature. Because of this, the stimulus must be detected first.

There are a number of sensors that allow us to detect this type of change.. They are in charge of informing our brain of any alteration such as heat. Then control centers are launched, directing the response to that change.

Effectors are responsible for executing this response. In our example it would be the sweat glands. Through sweat, body heat is removed. Thus, the cycle is closed and a stable equilibrium is maintained.

Glucose homeostasis and diabetes

What is hyperglycemia?

Glucose is the molecule that our cells use as ‘fuel’. That is, they need it in order to get energy and be able to perform all their functions. Insulin is the hormone that allows glucose to move from the blood into the cells.

Under normal conditions, when the glucose concentration increases, the pancreas stimulates the secretion of insulin so that it passes into the cells. What happens in diabetes is that our body does not secrete or cannot use insulin. Thus, blood glucose levels rise.

In this case, the negative feedback loop is broken. If this is maintained over time, tissue damage occurs. In addition, symptoms such as thirst or increased urge to urinate appear.


What we must remember is that homeostasis is the set of processes that take place in our body and that they allow us to maintain a dynamic balance dependent on external conditions. All of these are essential for life.

The post What is homeostasis? first appeared on research-school



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