<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe how the body regulates temperature
  • Explain the significance of the metabolic rate

The body tightly regulates the body temperature through a process called thermoregulation    , in which the body can maintain its temperature within certain boundaries, even when the surrounding temperature is very different. The core temperature of the body remains steady at around 36.5–37.5 °C (or 97.7–99.5 °F). In the process of ATP production by cells throughout the body, approximately 60 percent of the energy produced is in the form of heat used to maintain body temperature. Thermoregulation is an example of negative feedback.

The hypothalamus in the brain is the master switch that works as a thermostat to regulate the body’s core temperature ( [link] ). If the temperature is too high, the hypothalamus can initiate several processes to lower it. These include increasing the circulation of the blood to the surface of the body to allow for the dissipation of heat through the skin and initiation of sweating to allow evaporation of water on the skin to cool its surface. Conversely, if the temperature falls below the set core temperature, the hypothalamus can initiate shivering to generate heat. The body uses more energy and generates more heat. In addition, thyroid hormone will stimulate more energy use and heat production by cells throughout the body. An environment is said to be thermoneutral    when the body does not expend or release energy to maintain its core temperature. For a naked human, this is an ambient air temperature of around 84 °F. If the temperature is higher, for example, when wearing clothes, the body compensates with cooling mechanisms. The body loses heat through the mechanisms of heat exchange.

Hypothalamus controls thermoregulation

This figure shows the pathways in which body temperature is controlled by the hypothalamus.
The hypothalamus controls thermoregulation.

Mechanisms of heat exchange

When the environment is not thermoneutral, the body uses four mechanisms of heat exchange to maintain homeostasis: conduction, convection, radiation, and evaporation. Each of these mechanisms relies on the property of heat to flow from a higher concentration to a lower concentration; therefore, each of the mechanisms of heat exchange varies in rate according to the temperature and conditions of the environment.

Conduction is the transfer of heat by two objects that are in direct contact with one another. It occurs when the skin comes in contact with a cold or warm object. For example, when holding a glass of ice water, the heat from your skin will warm the glass and in turn melt the ice. Alternatively, on a cold day, you might warm up by wrapping your cold hands around a hot mug of coffee. Only about 3 percent of the body’s heat is lost through conduction.

Convection is the transfer of heat to the air surrounding the skin. The warmed air rises away from the body and is replaced by cooler air that is subsequently heated. Convection can also occur in water. When the water temperature is lower than the body’s temperature, the body loses heat by warming the water closest to the skin, which moves away to be replaced by cooler water. The convection currents created by the temperature changes continue to draw heat away from the body more quickly than the body can replace it, resulting in hyperthermia. About 15 percent of the body’s heat is lost through convection.

Radiation is the transfer of heat via infrared waves. This occurs between any two objects when their temperatures differ. A radiator can warm a room via radiant heat. On a sunny day, the radiation from the sun warms the skin. The same principle works from the body to the environment. About 60 percent of the heat lost by the body is lost through radiation.

Evaporation is the transfer of heat by the evaporation of water. Because it takes a great deal of energy for a water molecule to change from a liquid to a gas, evaporating water (in the form of sweat) takes with it a great deal of energy from the skin. However, the rate at which evaporation occurs depends on relative humidity—more sweat evaporates in lower humidity environments. Sweating is the primary means of cooling the body during exercise, whereas at rest, about 20 percent of the heat lost by the body occurs through evaporation.

Metabolic rate

The metabolic rate    is the amount of energy consumed minus the amount of energy expended by the body. The basal metabolic rate (BMR)    describes the amount of daily energy expended by humans at rest, in a neutrally temperate environment, while in the postabsorptive state. It measures how much energy the body needs for normal, basic, daily activity. About 70 percent of all daily energy expenditure comes from the basic functions of the organs in the body. Another 20 percent comes from physical activity, and the remaining 10 percent is necessary for body thermoregulation or temperature control. This rate will be higher if a person is more active or has more lean body mass. As you age, the BMR generally decreases as the percentage of less lean muscle mass decreases.

Chapter review

Some of the energy from the food that is ingested is used to maintain the core temperature of the body. Most of the energy derived from the food is released as heat. The core temperature is kept around 36.5–37.5 °C (97.7–99.5 °F). This is tightly regulated by the hypothalamus in the brain, which senses changes in the core temperature and operates like a thermostat to increase sweating or shivering, or inducing other mechanisms to return the temperature to its normal range. The body can also gain or lose heat through mechanisms of heat exchange. Conduction transfers heat from one object to another through physical contact. Convection transfers heat to air or water. Radiation transfers heat via infrared radiation. Evaporation transfers heat as water changes state from a liquid to a gas.

Questions & Answers

Describe the neural control of erection and ejaculation.
Nana Reply
A 52 year old woman turned her head quickly, during a tennis game and suddenly felt a sharp pain in her neck along her upper limb. Physical examination and medical imaging revealed a herniated degenerated IV disc in the cervical region of her vertebral column. a)What probably caused the IV di
a) What probably caused the IV disc herniation? b) What cause IV disc degeneration? c) What are the result of disc degeneration?
iv disc herniation compress the nerve cause numbness tingling sensation even paralysis in severe cases...
explain more
function of skeleton
Josiah Reply
- for movement - blood production by the bone marrow
production of calsium and phosphorus
Shortly after childbirth, a woman consulted her physician about a tender swelling in her perineal region. 8. What fossa related the perineal swelling? 9. Describe what vessel may cause the collection of blood in the fossa after childbirth?
what is heart
Subhajit Reply
it is the tissue..which pump blood to the all parts of body
the heart is a conical , hollow, muscular organ which works continuously through out the life of a person ,it is about the size of a clenched fist and weighs about 300 grams and also the heart is in the chest just behind the breast bone and between the two lungs
a hollow muscular organ that pumps blood through the circulatory system by regular contractions
is a muscular organ that pumps blood lungs and other body tissues through vessels
Shortly after childbirth, a woman consulted her physician about a tender swelling in her perineal region. 8. What fossa related the perineal swelling? 9. Describe what vessel may cause the collection of blood in the fossa after childbirth?
Shortly after childbirth, a woman consulted her physician about a tender swelling in her perineal region. 8. What fossa related the perineal swelling? 9. Describe what vessel may cause the collection of blood in the fossa after childbirth?
Isaac Reply
inguinal fossa femoral vein?
if you dont the answer by now you should seek another line of work. as a professor it is my duty to let you know about your lacking.
branches of brachial plexus
Arooj Reply
musculocutaneous, median, ulnar, axillary, and radial nerves.
Shortly after childbirth, a woman consulted her physician about a tender swelling in her perineal region. a.What fossa related the perineal swelling? b.Describe what vessel may cause the collection of blood in the fossa after childbirth?
What is great Auricular nerve?
it originates from the cervical plexus that provides sensory innervation to the skin.
why it is called Auricular nerve
is any payment is needed to use this app
Suprith Reply
is it a question?
doubt about this app
which lines divide the body into nine quadrant
Julius Reply
nine regions of abdomen can b marked using two horizontal & two vertical lines...the vertical lines are the mid clavicular lines taken from the mid point of each clavicle. the upper horizontal lines is the subcostal line taken from the inferior parts of the lowest costal cartilage...
to get a better understanding for the function
Rashana Reply
anatomy and physiology work closely together
anatomy to you about the structure of the while physiology is the the study of the body function
what is the difference between negative and positive feedback
The key difference bewteen positive and negative feedback is their response to change. Positive feedback amplifies change while negative reduces change.
negative feed back produces a response that brings back to normal while positive feed back produces a response that stimulates
examples of the body structure
Naki Reply
body's structure
how is it possible
Adum Reply
what is homeostasis please
Ayobami Reply
Homeostasis is the ability of the body to maintain a constant internal environment, regulation factors such as the body's temperature, pH, water balance, blood pressure.
that is true
A young man was playing in a hockey game when he was knocked down, he was not wearing a helmet and hit his head on the ground. He momently stunned and said he saw stars. The man’s vision was blurred for approximately 20 seconds. He left to his bench and showed no other sign of injury except tha
that he complained of lingering head ached.
1.Do you think the person would have a fracture skull? Explain your answer 2What will the lingering headache indicate 3. If you detected clear fluid dipping from the person nose. What do you suspect might be the source of the fluids?
if he broke his skull he will have not survied
1. if there were no other signs of external injury such as blood or bruising around area of impact or areas of the face, then he more than likely didn't fracture his skull 2. lingering headache could indicate a concussion 3. clear fluid dripping from nose would suggest a cerebrospinal fluid leak
(and fracturing of the skull does not indicate the person would not survive, of course dependant upon the severity of the impact & internal damage caused)
what is homeostasis
function of microvilli
it gives the small intestine a wider surface area which helps absorption to take place
please what is a lymph
Ayobami Reply
lymphoma is a type of cancer
No.Lymphoma is not any type of cancer.....
simple lymph is a tissue fluid less in plasma proteins which produces during tissue filteration...
lymphoma is a lymphatic cancer either Hodgkin's lymphoma & non Hodgkin's lymphoma..
Yes lymphoma is a lymphatic cancer
what is a trabeculae
Ayobami Reply
i do not know the answe
A trabecula is one of the small intertwined bone extensions that form a mesh and that limits, compartmentalization, the spinal cavities of spongy tissue
Trebeculae carneae are ridges formed by raised bundles of cardiac muscle fiber. They are part of conduction system of the heart.
you're welcome
Thanks for the information

Get the best Anatomy & Physiology course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Anatomy & Physiology' conversation and receive update notifications?