Proper blood flow is essential for your health and vasodilation plays a key role. Learn why vasodilation is important for your heart health.
Vasodilation is a natural process in which the smooth muscles in the arteries and major veins relax, widening the blood vessels and leading to an increase in blood flow and oxygen delivery throughout the body. For the most part, vasodilation is beneficial and doctors may use it to treat cardiovascular conditions. The following is an overview of vasodilation, its function, and why it’s important for your heart health.
How It Works
Vasodilation usually happens as a response to low oxygen levels, increases in body temperature, and other factors. Since it increases circulation, doctors may use it to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and related conditions. They may also use it to improve the effects of a drug or radiation therapy as the process increases the delivery of drugs and oxygen to the targeted tissues.
There are several potential causes behind vasodilation including exercise, alcohol, inflammation, natural chemicals, and vasodilators. While mostly beneficial, vasodilation may also lead to certain conditions. For instance, since it increases circulation, it reduces blood pressure. Even though this may benefit those with hypertension, it may also lead to low blood pressure (hypotension) in some people.
Some factors that can affect vasodilation include temperature, weight, age, and altitude. To illustrate, your body has nerve cells called thermoreceptors that detect temperature changes. When the environment around you becomes too warm, these thermoreceptors trigger vasodilation.
Weight can also affect vasodilation, as people with obesity have blood vessels that are more resistant to vasodilation. As a result, their risk of high blood pressure increases as well as their risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Vasodilators and Supplements
Doctors may use vasodilators, medications that cause blood vessels to widen, to reduce blood pressure and help your heart muscle. There are two main types of vasodilators: those that work directly on the smooth muscle and those that stimulate the nervous system to trigger vasodilation.
Your doctor will determine which type of vasodilator is best depending on your specific medical condition. However, you should be aware of some side effects, including flushing, fluid retention, and an increased heart rate.
In addition to these medications, you may take supplements that lead to vasodilation like L-arginine Plus. Its ingredients work to promote nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide is a natural compound and vasodilator that increases circulation. As a result, many people take it to boost their blood flow, blood pressure health, and more.
Still, if you typically experience hypotension or have chronic inflammation, vasodilation may not be the best solution for you. Talk to your doctor before you take any supplements or medications that induce vasodilation to make sure it’s okay for your needs. Otherwise, focus on improving your circulation for your heart health by practicing healthy habits and taking L-arginine Plus.