When the smooth muscles in your artery walls and large vein walls relax, your blood vessels widen – this is what’s called vasodilation.
When going through vasodilation, your blood pressure will decrease and there will be an increase of blood flow through your blood vessels.
Vasodilation and Inflammation
Vasodilation helps immune cells reach inflamed areas by increasing blood flow to the affected area and increasing the permeability of the blood vessel walls.
While inflammation works to help our bodies get rid of foreign invaders, it can also be harmful such as when a person suffers from chronic inflammatory diseases or in severe allergic reactions.
The following are examples of when vasodilation and inflammation go hand in hand.
- Allergic Reactions: When your body senses a harmless foreign substance, your immune system gets into gear. Vasodilation is largely promoted by histamine in this case.
- Injuries: When you twist an ankle, get a scrape or a splinter.
- Chronic diseases and conditions: Vasodilation and inflammation are especially present in conditions where the immune system attacks your body’s healthy cells. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis are some examples of the conditions where vasodilation and inflammation are present. These conditions can exhibit dysfunction of vasodilation and other issues with blood vessel function, which may lead to cardiovascular issues.
Hypotension and Vasodilation
Vasodilation widens the blood vessels, leading to greater blood flow and decreasing the pressure on blood vessel walls; this process naturally leads to drops in blood pressure.
Hypotension happens when blood pressure is abnormally low.
Some people may feel no side effects from hypotension while others can suffer from nausea, fainting, and dizziness.
If the blood pressure lowers to extremely low levels, it can be life-threatening.
Some causes of hypotension include:
- Medications (especially those used to treat high blood pressure)
- Allergic reactions
- Severe infections
- Blood loss
Other Factors Affecting Vasodilation
The following are some of the environmental and personal factors that may affect vasodilation:
- Vasodilation drugs
Vasodilation will naturally happen when there are low oxygen levels, increases in temperature, and a decrease in available nutrients.
It widens your blood vessels, increases blood flow, and lowers blood pressure. For the most part, vasodilation is a natural and harmless process.
However, there are instances where it can be damaging to your health such as during strong inflammatory responses, allergic reactions, and severe hypotension.
Vasodilation can serve as a great tool for treating high blood pressure and high altitude sickness.
If you’re taking vasodilation medicine, make sure you have properly followed the directions so as to not trigger hypotension.