Arteries, Veins, And Capillaries: The Biology Behind Blood Vessels
Our body consists of cells. For the human body to function well, all cells must have the right amount of oxygen and nutrients. These are the core purpose of the blood vessels. With the help of a network of arteries, veins, and capillaries, the blood can travel across the different parts of our system. This process plays a vital role in maintaining the overall function of our body.
What Is the Circulatory System?
The circulatory system is also known as the blood-vascular or cardiovascular system. It consists of different organs such as the heart, blood, and blood vessels—these work hand in hand to maintain the health of our cells.
The heart is the central part of the circulatory system. However, while the journey begins and ends in this organ, the blood vessels also play an essential role. Blood flows within our circulatory system through the help of blood vessels. It reaches every vital spot in our body and enables the transport of oxygen, nutrients, and water.
What Are Blood Vessels?
Our body vastly makes up a network known as blood vessels. As each blood vessel works in various roles in our body, they come in a range of sizes and structures. It mainly consists of three main parts, namely, the arteries, veins, and capillaries.
The arteries are muscular, tube-like structures that transport blood through the system. As told by experts, the arteries are comparable to trees that branch into smaller units called arterioles. As the heart pumps, it propels and releases oxygenated blood through the arteries. It consists of many types, including:
- Aorta. As the primary artery of the systemic circulation, it is also the largest one. It directly connects to the heart’s left ventricle and takes up oxygenated blood—the aorta then branches into smaller units that go to different organs.
- Pulmonary Artery. Meanwhile, a pulmonary artery appears as a branch between the lungs and the heart. It is commonly known to pick up deoxygenated blood.
The arteries support all our major organs. It serves as a thick, muscular wall which is helpful to resist high pressures. Each of these organs has a unique arterial structure to allow the delivery of oxygen and nutrients.
Perhaps one of the most severe issues concerning arteries is when there are blockages present. Too much fat and cholesterol are the main reasons that can lead to arterial problems.
Veins are one-way valves that regulate blood flow. The most prominent vein is known as the vena cava. Generally, they carry blood and waste products from the body. As its primary responsibility, the vena cava carries the deoxygenated blood to the heart. The vena cava has two classifications, the superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava. The superior vena cava transports blood coming from the upper portion of the body. Meanwhile, the inferior vena cava delivers blood across the lower areas.
Due to a wide variety of reasons, veins can deteriorate. Damages along the veins can cause the valves to stop working correctly. It can lead to a backflow of blood and pool around the area. Veins that are damaged are often called spider veins. It causes swelling, pain, and an unsightly appearance that resembles spider webs. Depending on the severity of the condition, it can result in the development of blood clots that impact a person’s quality of life.
Capillaries are the smallest type of blood vessels. Generally, it is known to connect the minor veins with the tiniest arteries. These vessels are more popular as microcirculation. Capillaries play a central role in blood circulation. Aside from delivering oxygen to different tissues, they pick up carbon dioxide for elimination. The capillaries are also responsible for feeding the cells with their necessary nutrients.
There are three types of capillaries, namely, fenestrated, continuous, and sinusoidal. As the distribution is vast within the system, it is available in different regions of the body.
If you suspect signs of capillary issues, early detection and treatment are essential. Some tests can help evaluate the capillaries. This assessment is relevant as several medical conditions arise within blood vessels. Some of these can be life-threatening, and immediate care is necessary.
Damages in the capillaries can lead to certain conditions. In some cases, problems in retinal capillaries can cause Macular Degeneration. It is one of the most common reasons for blindness. A rare disorder known as systemic capillary leak syndrome can also happen. When one develops a leaky capillary, fainting episodes due to a sudden drop in blood pressure can occur.
Improve Your Blood Circulation
In a word, blood vessels are essential in medical diagnosis. They provide critical information regarding a person’s health condition.