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Question Video: Recalling the Definition for Homeostasis Science

Many endocrine responses keep the body’s internal environment stable. What term describes how the body maintains constant conditions, such as blood glucose and water concentration?

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Video Transcript

Many endocrine responses keep the body’s internal environment stable. What term describes how the body maintains constant conditions, such as blood glucose and water concentration?

The human body requires certain conditions in order to function properly and to survive. For example, temperature must be kept constant to provide enzymes in the body with the right conditions to function properly. The levels of water and mineral salts in the blood must be controlled. Changes in the levels of water and salts can affect the osmotic balance of cells and fluids in the body. If the levels of water and salts is not kept under control, the level of water within cells can be disrupted, causing them to swell or shrink, which can have devastating effects.

There are two main systems of communication that detect and respond to changes in the internal and external environments. They are the nervous system and the endocrine system. When receptors detect that something is not at an optimal level, these communication systems will send messages to the responsible organs and glands. The effects of the nervous system and the endocrine system return conditions back to their optimal level.

One example of this is the secretion of hormones by the pancreas in order to regulate blood glucose concentration. When the concentration of glucose in the blood is too high, the pancreas secretes more of the hormone insulin. Insulin lowers blood glucose concentration, bringing the levels back down towards the optimum. When blood glucose concentration is too low, the pancreas releases a different hormone, called glucagon. Glucagon causes the blood glucose concentration to increase back towards the optimum level.

Now we have reviewed some of the ways in which the internal environment is kept stable, let’s have another look at our question.

We are asked for a term that describes how the body maintains constant conditions, such as blood glucose and water concentration. The term homeostasis is used to describe the maintenance and regulation of a constant normal internal environment that allows the biological processes to function properly within an organism. It comes from two Greek words: homeo-, which means similar, and -stasis, meaning stable. So, to answer our question, the term that describes how the body maintains constant conditions, such as blood glucose and water concentration, is homeostasis.

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