What is the autonomic nervous system and its functions

The autonomic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that regulates body functions that do not depend on conscious will, such as heart rate, breathing, digestion, and response to stress. The autonomic nervous system consists of two main divisions, namely the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.

Here are some things to know about the autonomic nervous system:

What’s that

The autonomic nervous system is a nervous system that works autonomously and is not used in a planned manner. The autonomic nervous system helps regulate and regulate various body functions automatically without belief, such as regulation of blood pressure, perspiration, reflexes, and regulation of acid and base levels.

The autonomic nervous system consists of ganglions (moving gangli), sinus venosus (blood vessel sinuses), receptors, and neurons. The ganglion is a structure located outside the brain and spinal cord that helps in organizing and processing information.

The sinus venosus is a structure located in the body that helps in the process of regulating blood pressure.

Receptors are structures located on the surface of the body that receive information from the external environment.

Neurons are cells that help in organizing and processing information. The autonomic nervous system has an important function in maintaining body health and assisting in the process of adaptation to the external environment.

Function:

The autonomic nervous system has several important functions in the human body. Following are some of the main functions of the autonomic nervous system:

  1. Regulates the function of internal organs: The autonomic nervous system controls and regulates the functions of internal organs such as heartbeat, respiration, digestion, and excretion. For example, the autonomic nervous system can increase our heart rate when we are physically active, or slow it down when we are resting.
  2. Regulates response to the environment: The autonomic nervous system helps the body adapt and respond to environmental changes. For example, when we are in cold temperatures, the autonomic nervous system will respond by narrowing the blood vessels in the skin to keep the body temperature stable.
  3. Maintaining body balance: The autonomic nervous system works to maintain balance in the body, which is known as homeostasis. For example, the autonomic nervous system can regulate body fluid balance, body temperature and electrolyte concentrations to remain optimal.
  4. Response to stress: The autonomic nervous system also plays a role in the response to stress. When we experience a challenging or stressful situation, the autonomic nervous system will increase the production of stress hormones such as adrenaline and stimulate the “fight or flight” response which increases the body’s focus and energy.
  5. Regulation of the reproductive system: The autonomic nervous system also influences the functioning of the reproductive system. For example, the autonomic nervous system can influence erections in men and uterine contractions in women.

Thus, the autonomic nervous system has an important function in regulating body functions that do not depend on conscious will, maintaining body balance, responding to environmental changes, and regulating responses to stress.

Sympathetic nervous system:

The sympathetic nervous system is involved in the “fight or flight” response. When we face a challenging or dangerous situation, the sympathetic nervous system increases heart rate, increases blood pressure, increases blood flow to the muscles, and increases body energy. This prepares the body to act in situations that require a quick response.

Parasympathetic nervous system:

The parasympathetic nervous system acts as the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system plays a role in the “rest and digest” response. This system functions to restore the body after stressful situations, by lowering heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and increasing digestive activity.

Cooperation of the two systems:

The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems work together to maintain body balance. These two systems complement each other and act according to the body’s needs. For example, when we exercise, the sympathetic nervous system will dominate to increase blood and oxygen flow to the muscles, while when we eat, the parasympathetic nervous system will dominate to facilitate digestion.

Effects of stress:

The autonomic nervous system is also involved in the response to stress. When we experience stress, the sympathetic nervous system becomes more active, which can increase blood pressure, increase the production of stress hormones such as adrenaline, and increase muscle tension.

Thus, the autonomic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that regulates body functions that do not depend on conscious will. The autonomic nervous system consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems that work together to maintain body balance and respond to different situations, such as stress and physical activity.