Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Narrowing of the blood vessels.

Vasoconstriction is the narrowing of the blood vessels resulting from contraction of the muscular wall of the vessels, particularly the large arteries and small arterioles. The process is the opposite of vasodilation, the widening of blood vessels. The process is particularly important in staunching hemorrhage and acute blood loss. When blood vessels constrict, the flow of blood is restricted or decreased, thus, retaining body heat or increasing vascular resistance. Cutaneously, this makes the skin turn paler because less blood reaches the surface, reducing the radiation of heat. On a larger level, vasoconstriction is one mechanism by which the body regulates and maintains mean arterial pressure (MAP).

Causes of vasoconstriction can vary. Both internal forces and exterior variables may induce the response. There are numerous substances as well as medications that can give rise to this vasoconstriction. The extent to which vasoconstriction affects a person depends on the substance causing the condition or the circumstances in which this condition developed. The various substances that can lead to vasoconstriction are listed below:


  • LSD.

  • Sodium.

  • Cocaine.

  • Caffeine.

  • Nicotine.

  • Serotonin.

  • Psilocybin.

  • Drugs that work as stimulants.

  • Consuming moderate levels of alcohol.

Body temperature can also cause the response. If a person is exposed to severe cold, cutaneous vasoconstriction can occur. Different nervous system processes, hormone circulation, and other body system functions may also causes vasoconstriction.


Though vasoconstriction is a symptom itself, it can also contribute to other health conditions if it continues for extended periods. The narrowing of the blood vessels can cause erectile dysfunction, secondary hypertension, cramps, tingling, headache, change in the skin color, pupil dilation, slurred speech, loss of muscle control.


Due to the lack of specific diagnostic tests, the diagnosis of vasoconstriction is currently based on several diagnostic criteria. A set of examinations is mandatory prior to the intervention such as chest X-ray, ECG, serum creatinine, blood clotting time. The intervention is usually planned on the basis of an MRI or CT scans.


As the process involves the constriction of blood vessels and decrease in blood flow, treatment of vasoconstriction is carried out by using vasodilators. These involve use of alpha-adrenoceptor antagonists and calcium-channel blockers that can widen blood vessels and help in smooth flowing of blood.

An hour of cardiovascular exercises on a regular basis can increase blood circulation and promote vasodilation.

In very ill patients, medical professionals may also administer counteractive medications to stop or reduce the process.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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