The tendency to maintain the internal environment of the body at a relatively constant level is known as homeostasis. The heart itself exerts perhaps the greatest control influences on countless parameters involving the circulation of blood throughout the body. The heart communicates with the central nervous system via both branches of the autonomic nervous system. Both the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions work together in the synergistic control of antagonistic influences to prevent potentially harmful fluctuations in a variety of bodily functions. Although it is obvious that significant changes do occur, an array of physiological responses involving the heart (homeostatic control mechanisms) mediated by the autonomic nervous system quickly reverses these changes to return within the reasonable ranges required to maintain overall health. In general, homeostatic control functions are the underlying determinants of parasympathetic and sympathetic outflow.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.