Mental Health

How to Know If You’ve Reached Homeostasis

Homeostasis Posted On
Posted By Alex Perez - Mental Health Writer, B.A.

Homeostasis is the steady state the body needs to function optimally. To achieve it, all components and systems have to be in the right place. But it’s like a Jenga puzzle—everything may seem to be in equilibrium, but remove one piece and the entire structure can collapse.

So how do you better understand your inner functioning, and how do you know if you’ve reached homeostasis?

Homeostasis: Essential Feedback

Homeostasis

The concept of homeostasis is simple: when the body’s sensors detect a physiological change that drives critical processes or parameters over a threshold, control centers in the brain are activated to send hormones or nerve impulses to the right effector and bring the system back to its preferred condition again. This circular control mechanism is known as a negative feedback loop.

Five Systems

Homeostasis

There are five major parameters the body needs to keep in check to stay in its ideal state. All of these have their own set of receptors, control systems, and effectors to achieve the goal. They also require different tests—fortunately, most of these can be done at home.

1. Temperature

A normal body temperature falls in the range of 36.1°C to 37.2°C (97-99°F). When over 38°C (100.4°F), you have a fever, most often caused by an infection or illness.

When too cold, sensors in the skin and hypothalamus will release hormones from the pituitary and thyroid gland in the endocrine system to increase cell metabolism. Another section of the chain causes vasodilation to increase blood flow to the skin, and you start shivering.

Forehead thermometers have risen in popularity with the Covid-19 pandemic’s no-touch rule. On the other hand, they have to be positioned exactly on the temporal artery to provide the right reading, and external factors will easily skew the results. An app-based thermometer is a good modern-day alternative.

2. Glucose

When glucose levels rise above their threshold, the body releases insulin. When they get too low, glycogen in the blood is converted into glucose. Glucose meters can be bought cheaply at major online stores.

A value in the range of 4-8 mmol/L is normal, or 4-9 in case you have eaten in the past two hours.

A reading of 8-11 mmol/L indicates hyperglycemia and can be accompanied by thirstiness, urination, a dry mouth, itchiness, and tiredness.

Being below the normal range ranks as hypoglycemia and will have you sweating, shivering, and experiencing other possible symptoms like nausea, dizziness, and an elevated heart rate.

If your reading is over 15 or under 3.5—even after taking in additional sugar—contact a doctor immediately.

3. Toxins

Unwanted particles are entering our bodies every day, from BPA in plastic bottles, phthalates in cosmetics, and fluoride in toothpaste, to heavy metal-loaded fish, crop pesticides, and microplastics in drinking water.

Even the MSG glutamate in your ordinary pack of noodles can get your body out of order in ways you hadn’t foreseen.

What he can’t do is vet your body for toxicity. Tests for liver enzyme values and inflammatory markers demand assistance from a certified medical lab.

Nonetheless, lab-on-chip and machine learning technology have enabled devices for home diagnosis based on finger puncture. Some can also test on glucose, uric acid, hemoglobin, and cholesterol.

The complete blood count (CBC) test is a good indicator for determining toxic load, since a low white blood cell count (WBC) or platelets can indicate toxicity. It’s hard to pinpoint a specific toxin, but at least you will have a general indication of total toxic load.

Eating locally grown food, among other changes, will resolve toxic overload symptoms such as:

  • Digestive issues and heartburn
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Skin issues like acne and eczema
  • Soreness and aches of muscles and joints
  • Insomnia
  • Foul-smelling breath, body odor, and stools
  • Abnormal weight changes
  • Fluid retention
  • Difficulty focusing and remembering, headaches
  • Menstrual issues, PMS
  • Dark circles around the eyes

4. Blood Pressure

Blood pressure monitors are widely available at the web’s major warehouses. Normal blood pressure levels depend on age but are typically around 120 mmHg systolic and 80 mmHg diastolic.

When it surpasses 130 mmHg, this is hypertension and will require a healthy lifestyle and dietary changes, as well as possible medication to reduce risks of heart disease and stroke.

Typical signs of high blood pressure are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Changes in vision
  • Lightheadedness
  • Heart palpitations

5. Alkalinity (pH)

The lungs control the body’s acidity by the amount of carbon dioxide they emit from the diaphragm. You can easily test your alkaline stability with a litmus paper strip. Urinate on it first thing in the morning and read the resulting color by measuring it against the yellow to dark blue gradient on your test kit. The ideal reading should be between 6.5 and 7.5.

There’s More

Homeostasis

People try many different things in the pursuit of achieving homeostasis, and true long-lasting solutions start at the core.

Create a balanced daily rhythm with enough sleep and a healthy diet. Vigorous exercise and certain foods can trigger the release of endocannabinoids to create immune homeostasis in the gut. To reduce stress levels and improve immune function, deep breathing, yoga, and Zen meditation can be of tremendous benefit.

Of course, a mere five factors can only begin to describe the overall health of a human being, but they provide a baseline reading to start from in improving your life.


National Institute of Health, Homeostasis: The Underappreciated and Far Too Often Ignored Central Organizing Principle of Physiology

Live Science: What Is Homeostasis?

Scientific America: What is Homeostasis?

Related Post