Difference Between the Parasympathetic and the Sympathetic Nervous System

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The autonomic nervous system includes the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The autonomic nervous system is a regulating method to monitor internal organ functions by feeding smooth muscles and glands. It automatically governs human bodily processes such as digestion, blood flow, heart rate, sexual arousal, respiration rate, temperatures, fluid balance, and urine. This article will discuss the difference between the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous systems.

What is the difference between the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous system?

The neurological system trains the body for high-intensity activities, commonly known as the fight-or-flight response. Reflex acts govern the autonomic nervous system, which extends from the brain to the organ and spinal cord. This includes cardiac, bronchial, and vasomotor regulation and reflex responses like vomiting, coughing, sniffing, and swallowing. Let’s look at how the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems vary (Postma et al., 1985).

The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS)

The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is one of the significant components of the autonomic nervous system, and its primary function is the fight-or-flight response. It is known as a parasympathetic nervous system opponent. It is near the lumbar and thoracic zones. It is located in the spinal cord. The sympathetic nervous system controls the heart rate, the respiratory system, and pupil responses. In addition, the sympathetic nervous system performs the following functions:

The sympathetic nervous system contributes to increased physical speed, decreased stress, and increased attentiveness. It quickens the heartbeat, causes contractions, and promotes adrenaline release from the adrenal gland. This gland is responsible for the release of adrenaline by the adrenal medulla. It controls the fight-or-flight response in the body.

Pre-ganglionic neurons and post-ganglionic neurons.

Two kinds of neurons help with signal transfer: pre-ganglionic and post-ganglionic neurons.

The adrenal gland’s reaction causes an elevated heart rate, cardiac function, skeletal muscle dilatation, and gastrointestinal vascular constriction. Like the other of the nervous system, this is regulated by an interrelated network of neurons. Sympathetic neurons in the central nervous system connect with sympathetic neurons in the peripheral nervous system via sympathetic ganglia (Grassi, 1998).

The Parasympathetic Neurological System (PNS) is a nervous system that governs the (PNS), another antagonistic group of nerves in the autonomic nervous system. It is mostly in charge of the control of visceral organs. While the parasympathetic nervous system regulates numerous tissues, it never attempts to assume care of life’s maintenance. The nerves in this system contribute to relaxation, digestion, and heart rate reduction. These nerves are also known as the cranial nerves.

The sympathetic nervous system

The sympathetic nervous system is structurally comparable to the nervous system. The essential components are pre-ganglionic and post-ganglionic neurons. These neurons reside in the brainstem or lateral horn of the spinal cord. This pre-ganglionic axon comes from the brainstem’s parasympathetic ganglion. This ganglion can be situated close to the heart or brain, in organs including the trachea, gastrointestinal system, and bronchi, or adjacent to the urine system (Postma et al., 1985).

Check the following reference articles to learn more about the difference between the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous system

Postma, D. S., Keyzer, J. J., Koëuter, G. H., Sluiter, H. J., & De Vries, K. (1985). Influence of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system on nocturnal bronchial obstruction. Clinical Science, 69(3), 251-258.

Grassi, G. (1998). Role of the sympathetic nervous system in human hypertension. Journal of hypertension, 16(12), 1979-1987.

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