homeostasis is the maintenance of a constant internal environment.
This is within certain limits though, so if your internal body temperature is only 0.5°C above/below it’s optimum temperature (37°C in humans) then it wont be such a problem. However if your temperature were to rise to something like 40°C, or drop to 33°C, your body would have to act in order to survive.
So putting it simply you respond to your internal and external environment in order to survive, so homeostasis is important.
Homeostasis involves receptors, communication systems and effectors:
- RECEPTORS receive the information. They detect the stimulus (The change)
- COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS communicate the information. They send the information from receptors to the effectors.
The nervous system and hormonal system are communication systems used in homeostasis.
EFFECTORS effect the body by counteracting the change, and bringing levels back to normal.
effectors can be muscle cells or cells in glands.
A change in your external environment can affect your internal environment, keeping a constant internal environment keeps us alive.
So going back to the temperature example:
- if our temperature rises too high, enzymes can become denatured (the molecules vibrate too much, hydrogen bonds that hold its shape break and the active site is too damaged to be used).
- if the temperature is too low, the enzymes cannot function properly as activity is reduced (they work slower).
Optimum conditions for enzymes are important because enzymes control the rate of metabolic reactions (chemical reactions within your body). If your enzymes don’t function properly and you need something within you to react quickly and it doesn’t it can become fatal in extreme situations.
For example, if your body temperature dropped and you couldn’t bring it back to normal, you would be more likely to become ill.
Glucose concentration is also important as you will always need enough available for respiration.