The blood clotting mechanisms of the heart and a patient’s ability to maintain a stable angina are often critically compromised when a heart attack or stroke occurs. While most individuals are familiar with the concept of Angiogenesis, many are not aware of what is known as the “symphatic cascade”. This is a mechanism that occurs naturally during the body’s immune defenses and involves the recruitment of new blood vessel vessels to replace ones that become blocked.
For individuals with diseases such as coronary artery disease and heart disease, the Sympathetic Arterial Chain (SAC) plays an important role in blood flow and blood clotting and is activated by a myriad of stimuli. When a heart attack occurs, the SACs first recognize that there is a problem with the blood supply to the heart from the coronary arteries and begin the recruitment of new blood vessels and sets up the body for emergency response. As the heart begins to pump more blood, the flow of blood and oxygen becomes more abundant and oxygen becomes the dominant chemical in the blood.
This provides a perfect environment for the formation of new blood clots. In response to this new influx of blood, the sympathetic nervous system responds by producing chemicals such as epinephrine, which further enhances the production of the blood clotting protein known as a factor. The Sympathetic Nerve, however, continues to produce epinephrine despite the increased blood flow and the increased production of blood clotting factors. This interaction between the SAC and the Sympathetic nervous system causes the increase in adrenaline levels that is known as an adrenaline rush.
When adrenaline is released, it causes the body to perceive itself as in danger and the heart muscles to contract forcefully in an attempt to get more blood and oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. This effect is commonly referred to as a heart attack or a cardiac arrest. If this process of self-defense were extended indefinitely, the outcome would be devastating. The heart would continue to beat at a normal rate with no increase in heart attack symptoms. This would be a recipe for disaster as well.
An increase in blood pressure and heart rate can cause additional damage to the heart muscle by increasing the workload placed on the muscle. Furthermore, the constriction of arteries can result in a lack of oxygen reaching the heart. These issues, coupled with the constriction of the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain, can lead to a fatal outcome from a heart attack. As you can see, the Sympathetic nervous system is designed to help the body defend itself.
However, the Sympathetic nervous system has the unfortunate tendency to override the body’s natural defenses and cause the body to experience a heart attack. This is what I refer to as the Sympathetic Nervous State. When this occurs, the body is in a state of defense mode, but not in a healthy state. Therefore, the body has to resort to artificial means to bring itself back into a healthy state of existence. The sympathetic nervous system is an integral part of the body’s defense system.
Unfortunately, there are people who abuse it. People who abuse drugs, those who gamble, and people who drink excessively are prime candidates for abuse of the Sympathetic Nervous State. Excessive use of the Sympathetic Nervous State can lead to a heart attack. It is important to understand that Sympathetic Nervous State is a wonderful thing. The body uses the Sympathetic Nervous System when it is needed, but abuse of the system can lead to a fatal outcome.