Homeostasis: The Dynamic Self-Regulatory Process that Maintains Health and Buffers Against Disease
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Homeostasis, as currently defined, is a self-regulating process by which biological (or mechanical) systems maintain stability while adjusting to changing conditions. This concept explains how an organism can maintain more or less constant internal conditions that allow it to survive in the face of a changing and often hostile external environment. Our awareness of homeostasis has slowly emerged over the centuries and has become the central tenet of physiology. If one does not understand this self-regulating process, then it is not possible to comprehend fully the function of the body in health and disease. The disruption of homeostatic mechanisms is what leads to disease, and effective therapy must be directed toward re-establishing these homeostatic conditions, working with rather than against nature. The purpose of this essay is to describe the evolution of our understanding of homeostasis and the role of physiological regulation and dysregulation in health and disease.
KeywordsEngine Speed Internal Environment Internal Stability Negative Feedback Regulation Homeostatic Regulation
Portions of this essay appeared in a much condensed form and have been included with the permission of the author .
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