The Sympathetic Nervous System


Question: Have you ever been in a situation where you just felt the need to run away very quickly (of course I’m not referring to the dental office).

Question: In a stressful situation, have you ever felt like you had all the energy in the world necessary to get through it?

Both of these are examples of the ‘fight or flight’ reaction which enables you to get through the very difficult and stressful situation…the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is responsible for this reaction.  Let’s go back a little.

The reason I bring up the SNS is because in the next blog we will discuss the link between sleep apnea and high blood pressure and the SNS is a big part of that. It is actually quite interesting…read on.

The nervous system is divided into two categories:
1. The Central Nervous System (CNS) – is made up of the brain and spinal cord.
2. The Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) – this consists of the sympathetic (SNS), parasympathetic and enteric systems. For our purposes we will discuss the SNS.

Under stressful situations the SNS is engaged and propels us out of danger.

How does this relate to sleep apnea?

What occurs during sleep apnea is that the body is in a state of perpetual sympathetic activation or continual stress…this has a way of causing havoc on our bodies.

In the next blog we will take this information and see how it is responsible for the link between sleep apnea and high blood pressure…until then.

Dr. F. Keshavarz Dentistry

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