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Medicine LibreTexts

16.13: Homeostasis and Feedback Control

Animals can only survive if the environment within their bodies and their cells is kept constant and independent of the changing conditions in the external environment. As mentioned in module 1.6, the process by which this stability is maintained is called homeostasis. The body achieves this stability by constantly monitoring the internal conditions and if they deviate from the norm initiating processes that bring them back to it. This mechanism is called feedback control. For example, to maintain a constant body temperature the hypothalamus monitors the blood temperature and initiates processes that increase or decrease heat production by the body and loss from the skin so the optimum temperature is always maintained. The processes involved in the control of body temperature, water balance, blood loss and acid/base balance are summarized below.


  • Ruth Lawson (Otago Polytechnic; Dunedin, New Zealand)