Blood vessels are the network of hollow tubes which circulates the blood throughout the body. They form an essential part of the circulatory system. These vessels are made up of layers of connective tissues and muscles. There are different types of blood vessels which carry out the blood transportation process.
What are the three major types of blood vessels?
Our body consists of several types of blood vessels like Arteries, Elastic arteries, Venules, Veins, Arterioles, Capillaries and more. However, the three major blood vessels are:
- They have higher elasticity.
- They help the heart to pump adequate blood.
- They carry oxygen rich blood from the heart to the various cells and tissues.
- They have higher blood pressure than any other part of the body.
- They are red in color due to the higher oxygenated blood.
- They carry the blood from various parts of the body to the heart.
- They have lesser elasticity compared to the arteries.
- They are called “capacitance vessels” because most of the blood volume (60%) is in the veins.
- They can also constrict due to nerve stimulation.
- The blood samples are generally taken from the veins.
- They are the smallest type of blood vessels.
- They enable the exchange of Fluid and gas between the blood and the surrounding tissues.
- They connect the arterioles to the venules.
- There are about 10 billion capillaries in the body.
What are the functions of Blood vessels?
- The blood vessels circulate the blood carrying nutrients throughout our body to help it function properly.
- The arteries and veins transport blood between the heart and the other parts of the body.
- They carry oxygenated blood within our body.
- They transport essential substances like glucose, amino acid, lipids, waste products and more.
- They carry the white blood cells to the infected and injured areas when in need.
- The blood vessels near the skin play a key role in thermoregulation.
What are the diseases associated with blood vessels?
Generally, blood vessel disease means narrowing of the arteries and veins which cause a problem in their function. This is caused due to the buildup of fat deposits or plaque which narrows down the vessels. Supply of the oxygen rich blood is hugely affected and results in the death of tissues and cells. Sometimes, it also ends up as the leading cause of amputations.
Certain conditions like diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, obesity etc. can lead to blood vessel complications.
Some of the common blood vessel diseases are:
- High blood pressure or hypertension
- Coronary artery disease
- peripheral artery disease
- peripheral venous disease
- Other neurological ailments
What are the elements and their sources which can strengthen your blood vessels?
Antioxidants help in reducing physical stress over blood vessels by reducing the risk of inflammation and blockages. The rich sources of antioxidants are:
- sunflower oil
- safflower oil
Homocysteine is an amino acid causing inflammation in blood vessels. It generally increases with the consumption of meat. Here are some foods which can lower down the amount of this amino acid in the blood.
- fortified cereals
- green leafy vegetables
Nitric Oxide or the laughing gas is very important for the healthy heart and blood vessels as it increases blood and oxygen flow in blood vessels and relaxes them.
- green leafy vegetables
- lean meat
- fresh vegetables
- whole grains