ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Homeostasis Within the Human Body

Updated on August 25, 2011

What is Homeostasis

Homeostasis is the ability of anything (doesn't necessarily have to be in the human body) to be able to maintain a relatively constant stable environment in order to survive. In other words, there are normal standards in which something must stay within to live.

Here's an example. The average human temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature was to go to 120 degrees, the human would die. If the temperature was to go down to 85 degrees, they would die. The temperature must be within certain guidelines or else the person will die.

Temperature can vary- however. If you have a temperature of 95.2, you can live. 98.6 is the normal, ideal value, or a set point. Body temperature can rise and fall, and our body can adjust to this, and get ourselves to a point within a normal range. This is done doing a negative feedback system.

A negative system feedback means that there is a deviation from the set point. Let's say your temperature will go up to 101.2. This is a deviation from the normal range. Your body will respond to this by sweating, which cools you down, and you'll return to your normal range. Or, another example, you have the flu. This is causing your temperature to raise (because your body is trying to heat up the virus and kill it), while your body is raising it's temperature, you will sweat, making sure that you do not overheat and die. Once the virus is gone, your body will take care of itself.

Most negative feedback systems have three components: A receptor, a control center, and an effector.

Receptors will monitor your body for some sort of value. This is what tells your body to know "98.6 is a normal value for a temperature." The Control Center will define the set points. This says "Ok, you can go this far above the temperature or this far below a temperature and you are safe." Effectors are what changes the value of the variable is.

To explain this, blood pressure is probably the best example:

  • Receptors detect an increase in blood pressure
  • The Control Center tells the heart to slow down
  • The blood pressure will decrease because of the decrease in the heart rate

The effector in this instance would be the heart, because it changed the variable to a normal value.

Other Negative Feedback Examples

We've done blood pressure, and we've covered temperature. More examples include the lack of food. Your body will slow down metabolism, allowing you to continue functioning, although the body is starving. This is why it's easy to lose a couple pounds when you're starving yourself, but it only lasts so long. Also, once you eat again, your body will speed up the metabolic process and you will gain the weight right back.

Positive Feedback Mechanisms

Positive feedback mechanisms are NOT homeostatic, and can lead to death. It's rarely found in the body. We'll use temperature again. Let's say you get a fever. Your body increasing the temperature until you die is the example of a positive feedback mechanism. That example is a bit unrealistic, but here's another one that can actually happen-

A person is stabbed, and is bleeding out. The receptors say "we need more blood, we don't have enough." The control center tells the heart, "Beat faster, we need to get more blood there." The blood keeps flowing out of the wound, and the receptors continue calling for more and more blood.

There are a few examples of positive feedback systems that do help the body such as birth. The baby is ready to pop, the uterus stretches and lets the body know that it's time for contractions. The uterus stretches more, and therefor, more contractions. Once the baby is born, the stretching ends, the contraction ends, and the stimulus is now ended.

That About Sums it Up

If I've forgotten anything, feel free to leave a comment. If you're an Anatomy and Physiology student, feel free to read some of my other articles to help get you started in your classes.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • jfree96 profile image


      7 years ago

      very interesting article! good job. if u get a chance check out some of my articles!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)