This article tries to explain the process of thermoregulation taking place in our body.
What is Homeostasis?
It is the process where the body tries to maintain its steady state even though the environment around it changes. The change in the environment changes our body’ss state too. This automatically triggers a mechanism which tries to restore the original state of the body back.
What is Thermoregulation?
It is a type of Homeostasis , involving the regulation of the temperature of the body. Humans are called endothermic animals because our body maintains the temperature around 35 to 40 degree centigrade ( called the set point ) constantly and the mechanism responsible for maintaining this temperature is within the human body.
Mechanism of Thermoregulation:
* The body temperature in our body is controlled by the thermoregulatory centre present in the hypothalamus of our brain.
* The hypothalamus uses two sets of receptors to collect input signals from all over the body in order to regulate the temperature.
* One set of receptors is present in the hypothalamus itself. It monitors the temperature of the blood when its passes through the brain.
* The other set of receptors is the skin which monitors the temperature of the environment.
* Both sets of information are required for appropriate adjustments of the body’ss temperature.
* Accordingly, the thermoregulatory centre sends several impulses to various effectors of our body to adjust the body temperature.
*Our initial responses to hotter or colder environment is voluntary. For example, when we feel hot, we decide to take some clothes off. And when we feel cold, we put extra clothes on.
* It is when these voluntary efforts are not enough, that the human nervous system automatically stimulates the thermoregulatory centre of the hypothalamus.
* The heat loss centre of the hypothalamus gets stimulated when we feel too hot .
* And the heat conservation centre of the hypothalamus is stimulated when we feel too cold.
* In some circumstances, the set point changes.
* For example, when we have fever, the white blood cells in our body release a chemical called pyrogens. The pyrogen rises the temperature of our body by 2-3 degrees more than the set point to kill the bacteria and protect the body from harmful viruses.