Vasodilation and vasoconstriction both affect your circulation, but what is the difference between vasodilation and vasoconstriction? Find out.
Vasodilation is the normal process of your blood vessels widening and allowing more blood to circulate through them. It can be caused by various factors and it typically helps reduce blood pressure and make it easier for your body to receive oxygen and nutrients.
In contrast, vasoconstriction is when the muscles around your blood vessels tighten, making the space inside smaller. This may be helpful during certain medical conditions like shock or asthma, but too much vasoconstriction can increase blood pressure and cause other problems. Keep reading to learn about the differences between vasodilation and vasoconstriction.
Symptoms and Causes
Vasodilation can happen naturally when you’re physically active, enter a hot tub, feel embarrassed, or have an infection. You can also experience it by eating foods that are rich in nitrates, drinking alcohol, or taking medications and supplements that cause vasodilation.
On the other hand, you can experience vasoconstriction as a result of certain medical conditions, medications, smoking, stress, and being outside in the cold. Some foods and drinks also cause vasoconstriction such as caffeinated beverages, salty snacks, and processed meats.
While typically helpful, vasodilation can be dangerous depending on the cause (e.g.: allergic reaction, septic shock, hypotension, etc.). If you experience a big drop in blood pressure (hypotension), your healthcare provider may give you IV fluids or blood pressure-increasing medications to boost your levels.
When it comes to vasoconstriction, you can treat it at home by managing your stress, avoiding caffeine and smoking, and exercising – just make sure you warm up first. These are also the best ways to prevent too much vasoconstriction from happening.
Generally, vasodilation is not a cause for concern. However, if your blood pressure drops severely, it may induce shock. If you suspect someone is in shock, call 911, make sure the person is breathing, check their pulse, perform first aid, and keep them warm.
In the case of vasoconstriction, you should call your doctor if you’re experiencing a serious problem such as hyperthermia, high blood pressure, and pulmonary hypertension. When your blood pressure increases to 180/120 mm Hg or greater, you’re having a hypertensive crisis, which is a medical emergency.
Vasodilation is a natural process that helps deliver blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout your body. Vasoconstriction is the opposite as it tightens the muscles around your blood vessels. Both processes can be beneficial and harmful depending on the circumstance.
If you have high blood pressure or some sort of cardiovascular condition, then vasodilation may benefit you. L-arginine Plus is a heart supplement that promotes the production of nitric oxide, a natural vasodilator that boosts circulation. If you’re looking to support your heart health, then talk to your doctor about vasodilation to see if it’s good for your needs and take L-arginine Plus.