What is Artery?

Meaning and Definition of Artery

The artery or arteries are blood vessels of different sizes located throughout the body with the function of transporting the blood that leaves the heart to the organs and tissues. The vast majority of arteries carry arterial blood (rich in oxygen and nutrients). With the exception of the pulmonary and umbilical arteries, which carry blood low in oxygen and full of carbon dioxide.

Unlike veins, arteries have more muscle tissue in their composition and are located deeper in the body, away from the skin. They are made up of the internal (or intima) tunica that is in contact with the blood, the medial and external tunica.

Robes of the Arteries

The tunica intima is subdivided into the endothelium and the internal elastic lamina (made up of a large number of elastin and collagen fibers) and is covered by the tunica media, made up of smooth muscle, and the external elastic lamina.

Finally, the outer layer (or adventitia) covers the arteries and is made up of collagen and elastic tissue made up of fibroblasts . Larger arteries have a network of small blood vessels in their outer tunica called the vasa vasorum , which is responsible for supplying blood to the cells that make up the tunica arteriosus.

division of the arteries

Arteries are subdivided according to their size. The smallest are called arterioles , responsible for transporting blood from the arteries to the capillaries, a place of gas exchange between blood and cells.

The presence of arterioles is essential to prevent damage to capillaries and peripheral tissues, since larger arteries are the vessels of the circulatory system with the highest pressure.

Therefore, entering the arterioles, the blood flow reduces its speed and pressure. Medium-sized arteries are intermediate in size and have five or more layers of muscle cells.

These arteries are systemic , occurring at the extremities of the body and connecting the large arteries with the arterioles. Finally, large-caliber arteries (diameter greater than 10 mm) are the largest and carry a large volume of blood .

They have less muscle tissue in their composition and more elastic tissue . The best example of a large-caliber artery is the aorta, the largest and most important artery in the human body. It begins in the left ventricle of the heart and goes down into the abdominal cavity (descending thoracic aorta). At the level of the pelvic girdle, it subdivides into the left and right iliac arteries, which reduces its caliber.

Importance of the Arteries

Arteries, especially arterioles, are essential for maintaining blood pressure . When they contract or relax, stimulated by hormones, they regulate blood pressure.

There are serious diseases, such as hypertension, which are characterized by increased pressure within the arteries, which can cause heart attacks and cerebrovascular accidents (stroke).

Therefore, there are ways to constantly monitor blood pressure using electronic devices. These report the systolic pressure (when there is muscle contraction in the heart) and the diastolic pressure (when the heart is at rest), whose normal values ​​should be between 120 and 80 mmHg (or, popularly, 12 times 8).

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