What is homeostasis and what is an example of it?


Quick Answer

Homeostasis is the characteristic of an organism to regulate its internal conditions. An example is the body regulating its internal temperature by shivering or sweating.

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Full Answer

Homeostasis is the maintenance of equilibrium within an internal environment in response to external changes. The term comes from the Greek words "homeo," which means "similar," and "stasis," which means "stable." Homeostasis occurs to stabilize the functioning and health of an organism, such as the skin, kidney or liver, and it typically comprises a system of feedback controls, according to Biology Online.

The body has numerous sensors to monitor physiological variables, such as temperature, blood pressure and salt composition of the blood, as described on the Education Portal. The sensors send signals to the brain, which is the control center, when one of the variables deviates from normal. This also triggers changes to compensate for the deviation in an attempt to restore the variable back to its normal value.

An example of homeostasis happens in the human body when it regulates its temperature in an effort to maintain a stable internal value of around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The body does this by shivering in order to produce heat when the external temperature is cold and sweating in order to cool down during hot conditions.

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