The circulatory system is a vital system for humans, as it allows the circulation of blood and therefore oxygen and nutrients that all our cells need to stay alive. This system is configured in addition to the heart by the blood vessels, there are several types of different sizes.
The two types of large vessels that are part of the circulatory system are arteries and veins. They are ships whose assignments and characteristics make them different from each other. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the the main differences between arteries and veins.
It is understood as blood vessels these structures in the form of an empty tube through which blood circulates and which, together with the heart, form the cardiovascular system. There are several types of blood vessels, which are responsible for either transporting the blood pumped by the heart to organs or returning this blood to the heart.
Among these blood vessels we can find large vessels and small vessels. Small vessels are capillaries, arterioles and venules which turn out to be extensions of arteries and veins and allow oxygen and nutrients to reach the cell or blood to return from the organ or cell to the vein. The large vessels are the arteries and veins, which carry and direct blood either to the organs (arteries) or to the heart (veins) and which are inserted there through the capillaries.
Main differences between veins and arteries
While we can already infer from the above one of the main differences between the two, here are both this and other differences between arteries and veins.
1. Main function
One of the main differences between arteries and veins, and the best known, is that they perform opposite functions: while arteries carry blood from the heart to organs, veins carry blood from organs to the heart. .
2. Composition of the blood they carry
Another major difference, related to the above, is the type of blood they carry: while the blood circulates through the arteries with a high level of oxygenation, the blood carried through the veins has very low levels of this. component i organic operating waste, such as CO2, abounds in it.
The only exception we see in the communication between the heart and the lungs, in which the arteries and veins perform functions opposite to those usual: the arteries carry blood with carbon dioxide and without oxygen to the lungs (from where the CO2 will be expelled and the blood will be re-oxygenated by respiration) while the veins are responsible for transporting the oxygen-rich blood to the heart.
This is related to its function: oxygenated blood from the heart is sent to the organs, This allows them to work, then returns to it so that it can be enriched with oxygen from pulmonary activity and by itself expel the CO2 product of the activity of the organism.
3. Pressure at which its contents circulate
Another major difference between arteries and veins is the pressure with which the blood circulates. There is high blood pressure in the arteries derived among other things from its thickness, shrinkage capacity and elasticity. On the contrary, the venous pressure is much lower, which takes longer to reach the blood from the organs in the heart than vice versa.
4. Presence or absence of valves
The arteries have no type of valve, being its high level of pressure derived from its size, thickness and elasticity and causing blood to move through the heart. In the case of veins, they may observe the existence of small pumps and internal valves that direct blood to the heart and prevent it from withdrawing to the organs.
5. Size, thickness and fragility
Veins and arteries they also differ in strength and in the thickness of their walls. The arteries have a thick wall and the ability to narrow, being very resistant. In contrast, a vein is much more fragile and brittle, having much thinner and weaker walls. Likewise, veins tend to be larger than arteries.
This is due to its structure. The two large vessels have an inner layer of endothelial tissue, a middle layer of muscle tissue and an outer layer of connective tissue. In the arteries, the muscle layer is much thicker than in the veins, which makes them more rigid.
7. Interpersonal variability
Another difference can be found in that, although the veins have a very variable pattern and arrangement depending on the person, the arteries generally appear in the same places in most humans.