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Any self-regulating process by which a biological or mechanical system maintains stability while adjusting to changing conditions. Systems in dynamic equilibrium reach a balance in which internal change continuously compensates for external change in a feedback control process to keep conditions relatively uniform. An example is temperature regulationmechanically in a room by a thermostat or biologically in the body by a complex system controlled by the hypothalamus, which adjusts breathing and metabolic rates, blood-vessel dilation, and blood-sugar level in response to changes caused by factors including ambient temperature, hormones, and disease.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on homeostasis, visit Britannica.com.