Autonomic nervous system

The autonomic nervous system

The autonomic nervous system is responsible for all the body reactions independent from our will. We can differentiate between the sympathetic nervous system, with stimulating function and the parasympathetic nervous system, with inhibiting function.

The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems operate on the opposites basis. While the sympathetic nervous system, e.g. accelerates the breath and heartbeat pace, narrows the blood vessels, increases the blood pressure, and slows down the intestinal peristalsis, the parasympathetic nervous system reacts conversely : slowing down the breath and heartbeat pace, decreasing blood pressure and accelerating the intestinal peristalsis.

The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for preparing the organism of a fight or escape. It is active under stress. Once the threat is over, this system switches off and the effects of its stimulation are neutralized by the parasympathetic nervous system. The day releases the sympathetic nervous system operation, while the night prefers the parasympathetic nervous system.

The sympathetic nervous system causes in the body:

pupil dilation

smooth muscle contraction, vasoconstriction of skeletal muscles, resulting in blood pressure increase

faster heart beat

secretion of scarce and dense saliva

effective decomposition of glycogen in the liver

goose pimples

wet and cold hands

bronchial tubes dilating

“fight or run” reaction

urination need, with simultaneous contraction of the bladder sphincter

inhibited intestinal peristalsis

tendency for deficiency in gastric juice

stimulating adrenal glands for adrenaline production

The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for:

pupil narrowing

decreased contraction strength of the heart muscle

widening of blood vessels, and thus low blood pressure

secretion of high quantity of liquid saliva

increased insulin secretion

occasional or no goose pimples

dry and warm hands

narrowing of bronchial tubes

“rest and digest slowly” reaction

bladder contraction and emptying

intensified contractions of the digestive tract

increased secretion of gastric juice

frequent skin itching

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