Nerves and Vessels Definition:
The term “nervous system” refers to the collection of nerve cells (neurons) which are responsible for transmitting electrical impulses from one part of the body to another. The term “vascular system” refers to the tissues that surround these neurons. These two terms have different meanings, but they are often used interchangeably. The vascular system includes all tissues surrounding nerves and blood vessels.
Vessels are the major structures within the nervous system that contain blood vessels. A vessel is a hollow tube or channel through which blood flows. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to various parts of your body. Your heart pumps blood throughout your body, and it does so at high pressure, causing it to move quickly through the vessel walls. When you breathe, air passes through your lungs into a lung cavity where it mixes with carbon dioxide in order to form carbon monoxide (CO).
CO then combines with water vapor in the atmosphere to form water. Water is carried back out of your lungs through your mouth and nose. You exhale carbon dioxide when you take a breath. The movement of blood through the vessel wall causes contractions of muscles in your legs, arms, hands, fingers, toes and other joints. The contraction releases energy stored in the muscle fibers, which results in a feeling of relaxation or even pain if there is too much tension.
The two different kinds of vessels in your body are arteries and veins. Arteries are vessels that pump blood away from your heart, and veins are vessels that pump blood toward your heart. The main difference between an artery and a vein is that all arteries contain pulses, but veins do not. You can easily feel the pulse of an artery by pressing your fingers against the skin in the appropriate location. You can also check your wrist or neck for a pulse.
Arteries and veins are further classified by location and function. For example, the aorta is the main artery in your body. It originates from the left ventricle of your heart, runs down through your chest, through your abdomen, and then down both legs to the tips of your toes. The blood that the aorta carries goes to every part of your body. Each aorta has an accompanying vein that brings blood back to the heart.
In the arms, the paired veins are located near the arteries. In the legs, however, these veins are located deep within the body, near the hips.
The difference between arterial and venous blood is that arterial blood is oxygenated, while venous blood has less oxygen and more waste. The heart pumps blood to all parts of your body through arteries. From there, blood travels to tiny capillaries where nutrients and oxygen diffuse from the blood into your cells. The cells then discard the carbon dioxide and other waste products, which diffuse back into the veins. The veins then carry the de-oxygenated blood to your heart, where it is pumped through the lungs, where the cycle begins again.
The diagram below shows how oxygen is used in your body. Carbon dioxide (CO2) waste is also created during this process. Since veins carry deoxygenated blood, you can’t check for a pulse in them like you can in arteries.
Your blood carries out several important functions. It carries oxygen to your cells and takes away waste products. It also fights off infection, helps you clot, and carries hormones that affect your growth and development.
In the circulatory system, there are four main kinds of vessels: arteries, arterioles, capillaries, and venules. Arteries are thick and rigid and carry oxygenated blood away from your heart. Some arteries branch off into smaller vessels called arterioles. Arterioles are still quite rigid, but they have muscles in their walls that allow them to constrict or expand, depending on the needs of your body.
Once the arterioles have branched off into capillaries, however, the blood vessels become very thin. The capillaries are so thin that oxygen diffuses across them from the blood to the cells and carbon dioxide diffuses from the cells to the blood.
After performing this function, the capillaries merge together into venules before emptying directly into veins. Veins then carry the oxygen-poor blood back to the heart.
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