JOHN BAVOSI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN BAVOSI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Dilated arteriole. Artwork of an arteriole (small artery) dilated by an alpha-blocker drug given to treat hypertension - abnormally high blood pressure. The large red cells are red blood cells. The smaller blue cells are platelets, which play a role in blood clotting. The arteriole's outer muscular wall is dark pink. Its inner membrane is light pink. Nerves are shown in blue and yellow. Hypertension increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Alpha-blockers relieve the condition by blocking the signals from nerves that make arterioles constrict. As a result the arteriole dilates (vasodilation), improving peripheral blood flow and reducing blood pressure.
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