Hyperemia is a medical condition wherein an increased blood supply to an organ or body part results in congestion of the blood vessels. This article provides some information about the symptoms and causes of the same.
Hyperemia is a condition in which the blood gets congested in specific areas of the body. It is characterized by redness on the affected area and flushing. The affected area might also feel warm to touch. The congestion might occur due to some kind of obstruction or inflammation, which prevents blood circulation in the capillaries.
This condition is categorized into two types. Active hyperemia, which is also called exercise hyperemia or functional hyperemia, is the type wherein increased blood flow to a certain part of the body occurs due to increased metabolic activity of a tissue or an organ. This could occur when the muscles in the body contract. It also occurs due to the combination of hypoxia in tissues (reduced blood supply) and the production of vasodilator metabolites. Hypoxia leads to an increased demand for oxygen, which in turn leads to vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels). The widening of the blood vessels takes place, as the smooth muscles which are found inside the blood vessel walls relax. Substances called vasodilators, such as potassium ion, nitric oxide, carbon dioxide, and adenosine, usually trigger this process. The increased tissue metabolism increases the blood flow, which returns to normal only after the metabolism is restored to normal.
Reactive or passive hyperemia is another type that occurs due to the blockage of veins. The blockage in veins adversely affects the blood flow, thereby causing blood to collect in certain parts of the body. A person who has just had an episode of ischemia (reduced blood supply leading to shortage of oxygen) is more likely to get affected by this condition. The blockage in veins lowers the oxygen level in the blood, thereby increasing the level of metabolic waste. This waste may also start collecting in an organ, which in turn might further block the flow of blood. Another characteristic sign of this type is that one may observe a red mark on removing a tight band placed around one’s hand or leg. The condition could become severe in people affected by blockage in the coronary arteries.
The medical condition is curable, and can be treated effectively. The treatment options would depend upon the type. If a person experiences the aforementioned symptoms, medical help must be sought immediately, so as to prevent complications from arising.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.