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What is the Vagus Nerve?

Apr 05, 2022

Vagus Nerve

There are 12 cranial nerves in the body. They come in pairs and help link the brain with other areas of the body, such as the head, neck, and torso.

There are 12 cranial nerves in the body. They come in pairs and help link the brain with other areas of the body, such as the head, neck, and torso.

Some send sensory information, including details about smells, sights, tastes, and sounds, to the brain. These nerves have sensory functions. Other cranial nerves control the movement of various muscles and the function of certain glands. These are known as motor functions.

What does the vagus nerve affect?

The vagus nerve also called the pneumogastric nerve, is responsible for various internal organ functions, including:

  • digestion
  • heart rate
  • breathing
  • cardiovascular activity
  • reflex actions, such as coughing, sneezing, swallowing, and vomiting

It plays a role in the autonomic nervous system, which controls actions people do unconsciously, such as breathing and digestion.

Vagus nerve problems

Nerve damage

Damage to the vagus nerve can result in a range of symptoms because the nerve is so long and affects many areas.

Potential symptoms to the vagus nerve include:

  • difficulty speaking
  • loss or change of voice
  • difficulty swallowing
  • loss of the gag reflex
  • low blood pressure
  • slow heart rate
  • changes in the digestive process
  • depression and anxiety in people with breathing problems or heart disease

To learn more about the vagus nerve and see where we got our information from click here.

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