Blood Flow to the Heart and Skeletal Muscles

Blood flow to the heart and skeletal muscles is regulated by both extrinsic and intrinsic mechanisms.These mechanisms provide increased blood flow when the metabolic requirements of these tissues are raised during exercise.

Survival requires that the heart and brain receive an adequate supply of blood at all times. The ability of skeletal muscles to respond quickly in emergencies and to maintain continued high levels of activity also may be critically important for survival. During such times, high rates of blood flow to the skeletal muscles must be maintained without compromising blood flow to the heart and brain. This is accomplished by mechanisms that increase the cardiac output and divert the blood away from the viscera and skin so that the heart, skeletal muscles, and brain receive a greater proportion of the total blood flow.

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