Organ Systems: Their Role in Maintaining Homeostasis
There are ten major organ systems in the human body. Each one plays a vital role in maintaining equilibrium within the body. All the systems work in tandem to maintain homeostasis. We will look at each one of these briefly and how they work together to maintain homeostasis:
1. Integumentary, Muscular and Skeletal Systems: The integumentary system is comprised of the skin, nails, hair and glands. The muscular system consists of skeletal muscle, smooth muscle and cardiac muscle. The skeletal system consists of all the bones, ligaments, connective tissue and tendons. The integumentary system's main function is to protect the body from foreign infections and thermal regulation. The muscular system is involved in activities such as digestion, walking, running, breathing and picking up objects. The skeletal system involves proper posturing of the body and locomotion. The muscular and skeletal system work in tandem as the muscles are supported by a framework of the skeletal system. The integumentary system maintains the muscular system by helping the body to cool off as the skin dilates getting rid of excess heat. The three systems work together to maintain homeostasis.
2. Lymphatic and Digestive Systems: The lymphatic system, also known as the immune system, is responsible for protecting the body from foreign invasion. Lymph, lymph nodes, vessels, tonsils, thymus and the spleen all comprise the organs of the lymphatic system. The digestive system is responsible for the digestion and absorption of the nutrients from the food. This system comprises the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, large and small intestines. Absorption of substances from the digestive system also occurs through the lymphatic system. Toxins are also absorbed by the lymphatic system from the digestive system. This is one of the ways in which these systems maintain homeostasis.
3. Endocrine System: The endocrine system secretes various hormones that affect the overall growth and development of the body. Metabolism is also one of the processes of the body which is regulated by the endocrine system. The release of hormones directly into the bloodstream is also regulated by the endocrine system. Various systems such as the nervous system, the circulatory system, the muscular system and all the other major systems of the body are regulated by the endocrine system. This helps achieve homeostasis.
4. Circulatory System: The circulatory system, also known as the cardiovascular system, is responsible for the circulation of blood throughout the body. Waste products are removed and the transportation of hormones and nutrients throughout the body also takes place through the circulatory system. Practically every other system in the body is reliant upon the circulatory system for supplying nutrients, oxygen and the removal of waste products. This system works in tandem with all the other systems to maintain homeostasis.
5. Respiratory System: The respiratory provides oxygen to the circulatory system and works in tandem with the circulatory system. It is also responsible for the removal of wastes from metabolic processes. The supply of oxygen and the removal of wastes generated by the respiration of cells, both help maintain homeostasis in the body.
6. Urinary System: This system is primarily responsible for getting rid of excess wastes in the body and regulating body fluids. Balance of electrolytes within the body is also maintained by the urinary system. The urinary system is also responsible for maintaining red blood cell count within the body and the optimum pH levels in the blood. All of these functions help maintain homeostasis within the body.
7. Nervous System: The nervous system is comprised of the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The hypothalamus within the brain is one of the key players in the human body in maintaining homeostasis. It affects the autonomic nervous system, responsible for controlling all the other organs in the body, and the pituitary gland, the 'master gland', that controls all the other glands in the body. The nervous system regulates all the other systems in the body in order to maintain homeostasis.