H₂O + CO₂ ↔ H₂CO₃↔ H⁺ + HCO₃⁻
Homeostasis is a feature of a system that normalises its internal environment irrespective of the external environment. As an example our internal body temperature will be kept as close as possible to 36.5 to 37.5 degrees irrespective of hot or cold external temperature.
If ill health is not controlled homeostasis will eventually no longer be able to normalise its internal environment. This means internal temperature increases or decreases, if this is not corrected it will lead to death.
An internal environment that is of great significance is Blood pH. It plays a pivotal role in many biological functions. Blood pH is kept at a fixed value of 7.35 to 7.45 – slightly acidic through the blood buffer system.
The blood buffer system compensates for excess carbon dioxide in the blood by altering the rate of respiration which releases carbon dioxide, this shifts the reaction to the right producing carbonic acid leading to a donation of hydrogen ions and increasing bicarbonate production.
The renal and respiratory systems being kidneys and lungs are both involved in the regulation of blood pH by excreting respiratory and fixed acids. The kidneys excrete hydrogen ions if blood pH is acidic and if blood pH is alkaline they release hydrogen ions back to the blood to reabsorb filtered bicarbonate.
If the body is unable to regulate blood pH it can lead to respiratory organ failure, kidney failure, shock, coma and inevitably death.
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