The autonomic nervous system and the role it plays in governing the behavior of the cardiovascular system is dramatic in both its complexity and importance to life. The antagonistic nature of the parasympathetic and sympathetic branches of this system allows rapid and essential changes in parameters such as heart rate, contractility, and stroke volume to deliver metabolites and nutrients to tissues and organs that need them at any given time. Increased sympathetic outflow relative to normal resting conditions most often causes an excitatory response in physiological parameters (such as heart rate and/ or smooth muscle contraction), whereas parasympathetic stimulation usually results in calming adjustments (decreased contractility and/or vasodilation). It is important to note that both branches exhibit influences that do not rigidly fit into these general guidelines.

Blood Pressure Health

Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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