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Core temperature

The temperature in the core of the body; not at the surface of the skin

Blood sugar

The sugar (glucose) dissolved in the blood; the normal range is 4.0 - 7.8 mmol/l


The maintenance of a constant internal environment in the body


A hormone produced by the pancreas. It causes the liver to convert glycogen back to glucose and to release glucose into the bloodstream.


A list of often difficult or specialised words with their definitions.


A hormone produced by the pancreas. It allows cells in the body to take in and store glucose.


Reusable protein molecules which act as biological catalysts, changing the rate of chemical reactions in the body without being affected themselves


The time of gradual development of the secondary sexual characteristics and sexual maturity.


A type of sugar: a mono saccharide with 6 carbon atoms (a hexose sugar).


The basic unit from which all living organisms are built up, consisting of a cell membrane surrounding cytoplasm and a nucleus.

Homeostasis - Sugar balance and temperature control

Homeostasis describes the functions of your body which work to keep your internal environment constant within a very narrow range. Two important aspects of homeostasis are balancing the blood sugar levels and maintaining the body temperature.

Your body is made up of millions of cells which need the conditions inside your body to be as constant as possible so they can work properly. However everything you do tends to change your internal conditions.

You take millions of new molecules into your body when you eat and digest food. Your blood sugar levels soar after you have a meal - but your cells use up the glucose fast when you exercise hard. You release heat energy every time you move about, the amount of water you take into and lose from your body varies all the time and your cells are constantly producing poisonous waste (see Homeostasis - the kidneys and water balance.)

The blood sugar levels in your body are coordinated by hormones, chemicals which regulate and balance the working of organs and cells. Hormones are made in endocrine glands and are carried around the body to their target organs in the blood stream.

Some hormones have long term effects, for example, the hormones that control how you grow and the changes that happen at puberty. Other hormones have shorter term effects. The hormones insulin and glucagon which control your blood sugar levels are like this.

It is important that the core temperature of your body stays within a very small range for the enzymes in the cells of your body to work properly. Your skin is one of the most important organs in the control of body temperature.

How to use this site

There are a number of interactive features in this e-source:

  • A glossary of terms: any word with a glossary entry is highlighted like this. Moving the mouse over the highlighted word will show a definition of that word.
  • Quick questions: at the end of most pages or sections there is a question or set of quick questions to test your understanding.
  • Animations: most of the animations can be expanded to full screen size, ideal for showing on an interactive whiteboard. The animations will play all the way through or can be viewed one section at a time.
  • Downloads: Teachers can download individual diagrams, animations and other content from the Download Library area of the website. Terms and Conditions apply.