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A decrease in the diameter of blood vessels, especially arteries, due to constriction of smooth muscle cells that line the vessels, and usually causing an increase in blood pressure.
Diagram of blood vessels.

Vasoconstriction occurs when blood vessels become narrower because of the tightening of the muscles in their walls. Its opposite is vasodilation, which is when blood vessels widen.[1] For example, when you are cold, blood vessels near the skin vasoconstrict so that you don't lose too much heat from your blood.

When blood vessels vasoconstrict, this increases blood pressure. Sometimes, blood pressure is too high and this can cause heart disease, so people have to take medicine to make the muscles in the blood vessels relax.


  1. "Definition of Vasoconstriction". 19 March 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.