You may think that veins and arteries are pretty straightforward body parts, just 60,000 miles of tubes moving blood around your body. However, your vascular system is actually a wonder of function and structure. Our surgeons at Vascular Specialists are here to share their favorite amazing facts about your veins, arteries and more.
Did you know…
…the human heart beats an average of 2.5 billion times throughout your lifetime. That’s about 80 beats per minute, constantly pushing blood through your blood vessels.
…men have about 5 quarts of blood and women have 4 quarts, constantly recirculating and moving around the body.
…your blood is constantly regenerating itself, with about 8 million blood cells being created and about 8 million dying every single second.
…blood moves at different speeds throughout your body. In your aorta, it speeds through at about 15 inches per second. By the time it gets to the capillaries, those blood vessels where microscopic blood cells actually have to line up to move through, blood is moving at its slowest speed.
…the walls of a capillary are only one cell layer thick, enabling nutrients and oxygen to pass through them.
…continuous capillaries are formed of cells packed tightly together. Fenestrated capillaries have permeable perforations to allow the transfer of nutrients and oxygen. Discontinuous capillaries have open spaces between cells, making them very permeable and allowing the passage of blood cells between themselves.
…your lips are red because they are packed full of capillaries.
…blood is never blue, even if it’s in veins traveling back to the heart to be re-oxygenated. Your veins look blue because your skin filters out certain light wavelengths, and your eye sees only the blue.
…varicose veins occur when the tiny valves inside the veins of your extremities weaken and are no longer effective at closing to help push blood back up to your heart.
…arteries don’t have valves because the force of your heart muscles pushes blood through them.
…hemorrhoids are varicose veins.
…when veins are closed medically or collapse from disease or injury, your body redirects blood flow to healthy veins and absorbs the old vein, which can happen in as quickly as two months.
…while aneurysms can occur anywhere throughout your vascular system, they are most common in the aorta.
Do you have questions – or an amazing fact or two we’ve missed? Let us know by sending us an email, commenting on our blog or calling 815-824-4406. We are always happy to help!