Sympathetic Nerves Stress And The Fightorflight Response

You know how it feels when you are under a lot of psychological stress or pressure. You can feel your heart (cardiac muscle tissue) beating harder and faster within your chest. Your stomach wall (smooth muscle tissue) is contracting tightly into a knot. And there is very little saliva (sah-LIE-vah) or ''spit'' (from the salivary glands), so your mouth feels dry like cotton!

These physiological reactions form part of what is called the Emergency Stress or ''Fight-or-Flight'' Response. In this response, the body prepares itself to either stand and fight some aggressor or danger, or engage in flight and simply run away from it. In either case, the Sympathetic Nerves of the Autonomic Nervous System are actively engaged.

For both the heart and stomach wall, the sympathetic nerves are a gas pedal, because they stimulate (+) harder and faster contractions. But for the salivary glands, the sympathetic nerves act like a brake pedal, because they inhibit (—) the secretion of spit.

These are considered sympathetic reactions, because you are ''suffering'' (path) ''with'' (sym) a lot of stress, and sometimes it is really pathetic!

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