Cardiovascular Deconditioning and Exercise

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The cardiovascular system in the human body has evolved to support function in the Earth’s gravity environment involving bipedal stance and ambulation. Given that blood and body fluids are drawn downward during standing, autonomic, endocrine, and vascular responses are critical to returning blood from the lower body to the heart and perfuse the brain. Many of these functions are not required during spaceflight, and, in combination with altered blood flow and pressures, results in cardiovascular deconditioning. When not opposed by countermeasures performed during spaceflight to simulate physical work or gravity on Earth, cardiovascular deconditioning can result in low blood volume, cardiac atrophy, vascular dysfunction, orthostatic intolerance, and reduced work capacity, affecting an astronaut’s ability to perform work during and immediately after spaceflight.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NASA Johnson Space CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.KBRHoustonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Peter Norsk
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Space MedicineBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Biomedical Research & Environmental Sciences DivisionNASA, Johnson Space CenterHoustonUSA

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