Physiology, Autonomic Nervous System

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan.


The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is made up of pathways of neurons that control various organ systems inside the body, using many diverse chemicals and signals to maintain homeostasis. It divides into the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. The sympathetic component is better known as “fight or flight” and the parasympathetic component as “rest and digest.” It functions without conscious control throughout the lifespan of an organism to control cardiac muscle, smooth muscle, and exocrine and endocrine glands, which in turn regulate blood pressure, urination, bowel movements, and thermoregulation.

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