Blood vessels: what they are and their functions

You blood vessels are channels responsible for blood circulation throughout the body, forming a circuit that begins and ends in the heart. With the vessels of the heart, the blood vessels make up the cardiovascular system, also known as the circulatory system.

These channels are located throughout the body and have a tube-like structure, but they rarely run in one direction.

Relationship between stress and cardiovascular disease

What are the types of blood vessels?

There are three types of blood vessels:

  • Arteries: carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body;
  • Veins: carry blood to the heart:
  • Capillaries: responsible for connecting veins and arteries and for exchanging nutrients and waste between blood and body tissues.

The main artery, called the aorta, is connected to the left side of the heart, passes through the chest, the diaphragm and the abdomen, extending to various places to transport blood.

The vena cava is the main and largest vein in the body and has two sides. The superior vena cava is located in the upper right part of the chest and carries blood from the head, neck, arms and chest to the heart. The inferior vena cava is on the right side of the diaphragm and is responsible for transporting venous blood (rich in carbon dioxide) from the legs, feet, abdomen, pelvis and back to the heart.

Anatomy of blood vessels

The surface of each blood vessel It is lined with a thin layer of cells called the endothelium. The endothelium is separated from the outer layers of the vessels by the basal lamina, an extracellular matrix produced by the surrounding epithelial cells. It is responsible for controlling the passage of nutrients and other substances to and from the blood.

Moreover, the blood vessels They have three layers of fabric:

  • Tunica intima: the inner layer that surrounds blood as it moves through the body. Responsible for regulating blood pressure, preventing clots and keeping toxins out of the blood.
  • Middle tunic: the inner layer. Thicker, the medial tunic is composed of collagen and elastic fibers that allow blood circulation in one direction, in addition to ensuring the expansion of the blood vessels.
  • Tunica adventitia: The tunica adventitia is the outer layer made up of loose connective tissue, containing nerves and small vessels. It delivers oxygen and nutrients from the blood to cells, helps remove toxins from the blood, and is responsible for cell structure and support. blood vessels.

What is the function of the blood vessel?

In general, the blood vessels are responsible for transporting blood to the organs and tissues of the body, which is full of oxygen necessary for the functioning of these structures.

However, each type of blood vessel has a specific function:

  • Arteries: carry arterial blood (filled with oxygen) from the heart to the body. They withstand a lot of force and pressure from blood flow, but they do not transport large volumes of blood.
  • Arterioles: These are arteries that branch into smaller vessels and vary in size to allow blood flow.
  • Capillaries: are the structure in which oxygen and nutrients from the blood are exchanged for carbon dioxide and waste products.
  • Venules: small veins that receive blood from capillaries.
  • Veins: Approximately 75% of blood resides in the body and is transported through the veins. Although they do not carry highly pressurized blood as arteries do, they do return large volumes of deoxygenated blood back to the heart.
Photo by Mishaal Zahed on Unsplash

What affects blood vessels?

A survey of Leipzig University proven that a poor diet can have a negative effect on blood vessels. When analyzing patients with metabolic syndrome, researchers were able to observe that the blood vessels from different parts of the body, these people have a problem related to the development of other diseases.

While vessels in the liver and adipose tissue have been shown to fail to process extra lipids, those in the kidneys suffer from metabolic dysfunction, those in the lungs are more susceptible to inflammation and transport through cerebral vessels is defective.

“As vascular dysfunction drives all major pathologies, from heart failure to atherosclerosis and neurodegeneration, our research shows how poor dietary habits molecularly promote the development of various diseases,” said Dr. Olga Bondareva, author of the study.

And while the researchers concluded that maintaining a healthy diet can reduce molecular signals that reduce the risk of developing these diseases, in addition to potentially improving the molecular health of blood vesselsthese results are only partial.

This observation was made when experts discovered that the blood vessels kidneys maintained signs of disease even after patients experienced diet-induced weight loss. Therefore, it is believed that ships may retain a “memory” that is difficult to reverse.

How to maintain the health of blood vessels?

Given the possible effects of poor quality of life on blood vessels, one wonders how one prevents the development of diseases that impact these channels. Luckily, some wellness-promoting changes can ensure the health of blood vessels, possibly avoiding further complications. Check:

  • Balanced diet: try to maintain a healthy diet rich in fiber and vitamin C, essential for the resilience of blood vessels. Limit sugar intake and focus on eating healthy fats.
  • Stress management: Stress can have a negative impact on overall cardiovascular health, so creating habits that relieve these feelings, such as yoga or meditation, can help.
  • Physical exercises: The best type of physical exercise to promote the circulatory system is aerobic, in which the body is exercised with the aim of increasing heart rate, respiratory rate and circulation.
  • Supplementation: Supplements containing bioflavonoids, anthocyanins and minerals may be beneficial for blood vessels.

Although all of these steps are essential for the health of the cardiovascular system, medical advice is essential to avoid further problems. See a doctor and ask about other changes that may help your health. blood vessels.

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