Features of Blood Vessels

Shows features of blood vessels including function, sizes and components.

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  • Blood Vessels
    • Arteries
      • Carry blood away from heart
      • Small lumen
      • Thick wall, contains collagen + fibrous protein to give strength
        • Maintain high pressure
          • Small lumen
      • Wall has elastic tissue to allow stretching and recoil for heart pump, when heart relaxes, recoil...
        • Maintain high pressure
        • Wall has smooth muscle that can contract and constrict artery
          • Constriction narrows artery
        • Endothelium is folded and can unfold when the artery stretches
      • Veins
        • Carry blood to heart
        • Large lumen
          • Ease blood flow
        • Wall has thin collagen, smooth muscle + elastic tissue
          • Do not need stretch + recoil, and are not actively constricted to reduce blood flow
        • Contains valves
          • Helps blood flow back to heart and prevent flow in opposite direction
            • Thin wall can be flattened by action of skeletal muscle
              • Pressure is applied to the blood, forcing blood to move along in a direction dictated by valves
      • Capillaries
        • Allow exchange of materials between blood and cells via tissue fluid
        • Narrow lumen
          • Red blood cells squeezed along capillaries, help them give up oxygen, reduce diffusion path to tissue
        • Walls have single layer of flattened endothelial cells
          • Reduce diffusion distance


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