Sympathetic Division Stimulation Causes
The sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system is responsible for regulating various body functions in response to stress or danger. When the sympathetic division is stimulated, it leads to a cascade of physiological responses designed to prepare the body for a fight-or-flight response. The most common effects of sympathetic stimulation include increased heart rate and blood pressure, constricted blood vessels, increased sweating, increased glucose levels, and increased GI peristalsis.
Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
When the sympathetic division is stimulated, the body releases adrenaline, which stimulates the heart and causes it to beat faster. This can cause an increase in both heart rate and blood pressure as the body attempts to pump more blood to the muscles in preparation for a fight-or-flight response. The increased heart rate and blood pressure can remain elevated for up to an hour after the initial stimulus.
Constricted Blood Vessels
Sympathetic stimulation also causes the blood vessels to constrict. This leads to a decrease in blood flow to certain areas of the body, such as the skin and the digestive tract. This can help to conserve energy and ensure that more blood is available to the muscles for a fight-or-flight response.
Sweating is another response to sympathetic stimulation. Sweating serves to cool down the body, as well as to reduce the risk of infection if the body is wounded during a fight-or-flight response. The sweat can also be used to detect pheromones, which can help an individual identify potential mates.
Increased Glucose Levels
The sympathetic division also stimulates the release of glucose into the bloodstream. Glucose is an important source of energy for the body, and the body releases it to ensure that the muscles have fuel available for any physical activity. This is especially true during a fight-or-flight response, when large amounts of energy are required.
Increased GI Peristalsis
Finally, sympathetic stimulation can also cause increased GI peristalsis. This is the contraction and relaxation of muscles in the digestive system, which is necessary for proper digestion. Increased GI peristalsis can cause diarrhea, as the contractions cause food to move through the digestive tract at a faster rate.
Sympathetic division stimulation causes a variety of physiological responses, all of which are designed to help the body prepare for a fight-or-flight response. These responses include increased heart rate and blood pressure, constricted blood vessels, increased sweating, increased glucose levels, and increased GI peristalsis. By understanding these responses, we can better prepare ourselves for any stressful situations we may encounter in our daily lives.