Blood Vessel Reaction to Heat

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Blood vessels react to heat by dilating and creating an increase in blood flow to the affected area. Avoid putting heat on broken or wounded body parts, as the increase in blood flow will cause more pain. Find out why the blood vessel reaction to a sunburn causes headaches with information from a nurse and respiratory therapist in this free video on blood vessels.

Part of the Video Series: Blood Vessels
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Video Transcript

We're going to talk about blood vessel reaction to heat. Any time that you have an increased temperature you're going to have an in increased flow in the vessel, which it means that it dilates; it opens up and the flow is more active. You are going to see an increased flow to the area. If you have been used to seeing maybe someone that has had a a broken arm, or some type of trauma to their hand or wherever then you will know that you wouldn't put heat on it because the blood is going to rush to that area and the pain is going to increase. So, anytime that you have heat to a blood vessel you're going to see an increased flow, increased temperature to the tissue, and you're going to have dilatation or it's going to dilate meaning to open up, and the flow is going to be greater to that area, and it's going to be an increase in pulse. Sometimes you've seen that with sunstrokes where it's hot outside and the vessels just seem to just open up, and the headache comes on because of the increased flow of the blood to the area. So, blood vessel reacting to heat does increase the flow because the temperature is increased.


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