Homeostasis is the body’s ability to maintain a stable equilibrium between the physiological processes in the human body. This equilibrium is maintained with the help of body fluid balance. The human body has a lot of fluids, but the one that gets replenished the most and needs a refill most often is water. Over half of the body’s weight is made up of water. There is a fluid presence in three main body compartments:
- Fluid within cells
- Fluid in the space around cells
Fine balance between the loss of water and the gain of water is essential to maintain equilibrium among various bodily processes. Blood travels across the body, and when this fluid balance is damaged, there are various symptoms portrayed by the body. Cramping of the muscles is usually one of the prime symptoms of fluid imbalance in the body. In the case of dehydration, muscles and other body cells start losing water, severe muscle cramping occurs which can damage the internal organs if it continues for a longer period of time. Water is, therefore, one of the most important fluids in our lives and maintaining a healthy balance by drinking the required amount of water is extremely important. Water forms a major part of the body and helps in carrying out bodily functions smoothly. For example, water helps in carrying electrolytes, minerals and ions required by the body and provides the human body with the required nutrition. Blood electrolytes like sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate help regulate nerve and muscle function. They also help in maintaining the acid-base balance and water balance in the body. It also helps in digestion, excretion, circulation and in performing neurological activities. Handling the body temperature and pressure balance and adapting to the surroundings also requires healthy water balance in the body. Drinking ample amount of water prevents digestive problems. Sometimes, digestive problems may be stress-related, in which case, herbal dietary supplements can help. However, drinking water before and after food results in healthy digestion and reduced ulcers or other digestive problems. Maintaining a healthy water balance in the body is also linked with kidney health and intestine health. A recent study has identified several nodes in the brain that positively and negatively regulate thirst. Fluid balance can also be linked to healthy optics and neurological function. Conditions in the body must be constantly controlled because cells depend on the body’s environment to live and function in order to keep the body in prime health and for healthy regeneration. Unhealthy fluid accumulation or dehydration can lead to the wrong kind of body conditions, causing serious damage. The balance of proteins, enzymes, and other essential nutrients in the body all depend on water levels. Therefore, the function of water is multifaceted in the body and needs to be monitored carefully. The maintenance of body temperature (37 degrees) is controlled by the brain and it is maintained just so because it is the most favorable condition at which the enzymes function optimally. Temperature receptors in the skin detect changes in the external environment and pass this information on to the brain’s processing centre, i.e. the hypothalamus, so that the body can adjust to the external changes. In such cases, the hypothalamus automatically triggers changes in the body’s sweat glands and muscles to keep our temperature constant. If external conditions are hot, the body sweats, leading to loss of water. If the weather is too cold, the pili muscles in the skin contract and cause the hair on our arms to stand up, causing goosebumps which help in trapping a layer of warm air next to the skin to reduce heat loss. To function normally in such situations, the body must have satisfactory fluid levels and should not vary too much. Thus, water plays an important function in all these activities. The body’s adaptability and proper functioning require correct fluid balance. Some hormonal or neurological conditions cause a person to be excessively thirsty; in such cases, medical care must be pursued immediately. The kidneys help maintain electrolyte concentrations by filtering electrolytes and water from the blood, returning some to the blood and excreting any excess into the urine, but what maintains kidney health is drinking ample amount of water. The balance between body functions and water content is interdependent and needs to be checked frequently. Therefore, one must always check for conditions such as dehydration or overhydration and act accordingly to maintain healthy fluid balance in the body to lead a healthy life in all aspects.