Vasoconstriction is a serious condition caused due to the constricted blood vessels. The condition can result in the internal diameter reduction of your blood vessels. You can mainly experience the narrowing of capillaries or arterioles. The constriction of your arterioles is facilitated by the nerve action. It mainly affects the smooth muscle fibers of the capillaries/arterioles walls. So, it can result in the slowing or blocking of the blood flow. The result is the increase in pressure leading to severe complications. It is a warning your body issues you about an underlying serious condition. Therefore, you need to heed the warning and take adequate steps to overcome the issue.
What Is Vasoconstriction?
Vaso is the term that means blood vessel. So, vasoconstriction narrows your blood vessels to stop the hemorrhage. It can retain the heat in your body. Vasoconstriction is not a disease. It is a normal process in the human body. Therefore, the mechanism on a larger scale can preserve arterial pressure in your body. It can make your body cool and turn your skin pale. But, if the condition continues for a long time, then it causes serious complications. The mild or severe condition is triggered due to psychological or physical conditions. Sometimes medications can lead to a specific problem. Hence, cold and cough medication can initiate blood vessels constriction.
Is Vasoconstriction Normal?
The tightening of the smooth muscles in your blood vessels can cause vasoconstriction. Also known as vasospasm, the condition makes the opening of your blood vessel smaller. It is a normal process that maintains the balance in the body. So, the condition is normal under the following circumstances:
- It tries to stabilize your blood pressure or increase your blood pressure when it plummets.
- Retains your body temperature in cold temperature by reducing heat loss from it.
- It controls your blood distribution to all parts of your body
- Sends more oxygen and nutrients to different organs in your body
- Provides protection to your body against fluid and blood loss.
Though it is a normal process that is helpful in some area, it can also trigger other complications. Severe vasoconstriction can increase your blood pressure levels. It also causes a severe headache. Too much blood vessel narrowing is a serious condition that indicates some other health issue. So, contact your doctor for a proper diagnosis. Read ahead to know in detail about the issue to take adequate steps.
Causes Of Vasoconstriction
Now you have an idea about the constriction of the blood vessels. But, you may still wonder what causes it. Several factors are responsible for the occurrence of vasoconstriction. You may have realized the close association between vasoconstriction and the blood pressure. As your blood vessels constrict, the blood flow gets affected. Therefore, it results in an increase in your blood pressure levels. If the constriction goes on for a long time, then it results in chronic blood pressure. High blood pressure is highly dangerous for your body. So, you need to understand the triggering factors.
One of the major factor influencing the problem is the bad diet. What you eat can reflect on your health. So, the consumption of the following food or beverages can result in the problem:
Caffeinated food and drinks can narrow your blood vessels. Taking the caffeine in moderation never harms our body. But, too much consumption of items like Coffee, chocolates, tea, and soda can adversely affect your health.
Salt contains sodium. Sodium can retain the water in your body. Excess water retention elevates the blood volume in your body. Therefore, it results in the constriction of the blood vessels. If you consume a sodium-rich diet, then your chances of experiencing blood vessels constriction elevates. Therefore, limit your intake of processed food, salt, etc. Avoiding food items with salt in it can cut down your risk.
Foods containing bad cholesterol like trans-fat and saturated fat can have negative effects on your body. It can adversely impact blood circulation. The deposits of fat in your blood vessels can narrow it leading to vasoconstriction. Therefore, opt for food with healthy cholesterol. It will reduce the negative impact on your body.
The food increasing the glucose levels in your blood can increase your chances of experiencing vasoconstriction. Try to include complex carbohydrates instead of the refined one to reduce your chances of getting the problem. So, include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. You need to avoid items like white pasta, white bread, etc. from your diet.
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
Do you love Chinese food? Then, you need to know that the restaurants add MSG in it. It is a flavoring agent that enhances the taste of Chinese food. But, consuming it in excess can lead to severe problems in your body. It can affect your brain and trigger other health problems. Therefore, restrict the use of MSG in your diet.
Your lifestyle plays an important role in safeguarding your health. An active lifestyle can keep the diseases at bay. But, a sedentary lifestyle can put you at risk. Therefore, the issues that directly leads to vasoconstriction are:
Stress can lead to several issues in your body. It affects you mentally as well as physically. Excess stress and anxiety can impact your blood vessels. So, when you get stressed, the chances of blood vessels constriction increases.
Some medications and recreational drugs put you at risk of vasoconstriction. Substance abuse can also lead to the problem. Hence, the medications and drugs causing the issue are:
- Tyramine (Found naturally in food items)
- Vasopressin Analogs (used in the treatment of low sodium levels)
- Sympathomimetic Drugs (Treatment of hypotension)
Diseases Causing Vasoconstriction
Some underlying health condition can also result in vasoconstriction. Therefore, monitor your body closely for the signs as the diseases can damage your health. When you observe the symptoms, get treatment immediately. The serious diseases can affect your health in a negative manner.
The blood constriction in the brain is a dangerous problem. Vasoconstriction in the brain known as cerebral vasospasm results in stroke or stroke-like injury. The bleeding in the brain due to surgery or blood vessel rupture can lead to the issue. So, the blood vessels narrow (spasms) to limit the bleeding. The action can cut off the oxygen and blood supply to the part of the brain. Therefore, the patient can get a stroke. The main symptoms associated with the issue are:
- Difficulty in walking
- Severe headache
- Loss of balance (Dizziness)
- Difficulty speaking
- Problem seeing in one or both eyes
- Weakness/numbness on one side of the face and body
When you experience the symptoms, go to the hospital. You need swift medical attention to overcome the problem. Vasoconstriction in the brain is a severe problem. So, never take it lightly.
It is the issue that leads to some areas of your body becoming cold and numb. The body parts prone to the issues are fingers and toes. When you suffer from the problem, the small arteries supplying blood to the fingers and toes constrict. The narrowing leads to the limitation of blood circulation to the outer areas of the specified regions. It is triggered by exposure to cold temperatures. Therefore, people working in colder regions or spend a considerable amount of time in ice are prone to it. So, ice hockey players, ice skaters, Zamboni drivers can suffer from the issue. It can also affect areas of the body like:
Though the condition is uncomfortable, it is not life-threatening. But, the severe discomfort can trouble you. In some cases, Raynaud’s phenomenon can increase the risk of skin infection. It also slows down the healing of wounds. The problem is due to the constriction of blood vessels. So, it limits the normal blood flow. Your body is starved of nutrients, oxygen, and the infection-fighting (immune) cells. Therefore, vasoconstriction can lead to suffering uneasiness.
Reversible Cerebral Vasoconstriction Syndrome
RCVS is the name of the range of disorders caused by the vasoconstriction in your brain. In most cases, with proper treatment, you can reverse the condition. So, with the right medical attention, you can recover completely within a few months. In some rare cases, the vasoconstriction can lead to stroke. It occurs due to the narrowing of blood vessels for too long. Therefore, it cuts off blood flow and oxygen to the different parts of the brain. The problem can affect babies. Subsequently, it leads to high blood pressure, stroke, or a headache. It is mainly triggered due to the side effects of medicines. The medications include chemotherapy drugs for brain and eye cancers in infants and children. You need to monitor the following symptoms:
- Change in vision
- Intense, sudden headache
- Difficulty in speaking
- Difficulty comprehending the speech
- Experiencing weakness in one side of the body
Symptoms Of Vasoconstriction
Vasoconstriction may sound scary. If you are totally unaware about the disease, then you may feel frightened. But, understand that with medical help at the right time, you can overcome the problem. So, you just need to watch out for the signs of the issue. Depending on the severity of the issue, you need to take the right steps. Vasoconstriction can trigger the following signs and symptoms:
- Numbness in the extremities
- Pale skin
- A headache
- Feeling of imbalance
- Tingling feeling in the toes or fingers (or both)
- Blurred vision (partial vision loss)
- Paralysis of muscle (loss of muscle control)
- High blood pressure
In rare cases, patients may experience slurred speech due to vasoconstriction. Mild vasoconstriction is a normal occurrence that poses no threat to your body. You can recover from it quickly without any medical attention. But, the moderate to severe vasoconstriction can have serious side-effects. So, you can experience the following:
Therefore, get medical help at the right time to avoid any serious complications to your health. The medical assistance can reverse any adverse you have suffered.
Vasoconstriction Treatment Options
Taking immediate action for the vasoconstriction reduces the chances for further complications. The treatment varies from one person to another. So, depending on the individual symptoms, your doctor will suggest a treatment plan. The most common approaches of treating the vasoconstriction are:
To overcome the blood flow obstruction due to the constriction of blood vessels, your doctor may provide medications. The medicine can encourage blood flow. The medicines known as vasodilators blocks the calcium channels. When you take the medication, it directly affects the walls of your veins and arteries. It prevents the narrowing of the walls and avoids muscle tightening. So, it dilates the blood vessels increasing the blood flow.
Good physical activity is good for your body. It can increase the blood flow in your body and avoid fat accumulation. Including cardio in your daily routine is a good method to combat the vasoconstriction. The cardio exercises like running, cycling, and swimming can increase blood flow. Therefore, it helps to dilate the blood vessels and overcome the vasoconstriction.
Avoid Overexposure To Cold
Overexposure to the cold condition can result in vasoconstriction. Therefore, it is important to avoid staying in the cold for too long. If staying is a necessity, then you need to take adequate precaution to avoid constriction of blood vessels.
A healthy diet including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, etc. can avoid any health issues. Avoid canned food, processed food, or other items that have too much salt in it. The excess sodium leads to water retention and vasoconstriction. Therefore, consuming a good diet is essential for avoiding issues.
Restrict Alcohol And Drug Use
Alcohol and recreational drug use can result in the constriction of the blood vessels. Therefore, you need to restrict the use of drugs or alcohol to avoid health complications.
Stress is a negative emotion that can cause various physical and mental problems. Therefore, you need to eliminate the stress from your life. It can reduce your risk of getting acute vasoconstriction.
Underlying Health Issues
Some disease can cause vasoconstriction. Therefore, you need to get treatment for the underlying disease first. The constriction of blood vessels clears by itself once the disease gets cured. Contact your doctor to get the necessary treatment and alleviate the discomfort from your body.
Massaging the area that is numb or devoid of blood circulation can help increase the blood flow. So, massaging for at least ten minutes can improve the symptoms of vasoconstriction. But, the massaging can only reverse the issue temporarily. Therefore, you need to consult your doctor for a permanent solution.
You need to pay attention to your health closely. Any change in your body needs immediate medical attention. With good health, your chances of fighting vasoconstriction are easier.
Vasoconstriction may not seem like a big problem, but it can lead to severe complications. If you ignore it, then you may suffer a lot. So, you need to understand the seriousness of the disease and the risk associated with it. You can take small steps to prevent the issue. Simple changes in your diet, including exercise, and getting good sleep can keep the problem at bay. If you experience the vasoconstriction signs for more than six months, then you need to get medical help. It will help detect and eliminate the underlying health condition.View Article Sources