• Your Arteries

     
     
     
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    2/18/2013

    Arteries are strong tubes, or vessels, that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. When you think of arteries, you might think of some of the most often mentioned ones:

    • The aorta the main artery coming out of the heart
    • Coronary arteries in the heart
    • The carotid artery in the neck

    However, there are more than 20 arteries throughout the body, which then branch out into many smaller tubes. This extensive network carries blood to all parts of the body.

    Each artery is made up of three layers:

    • A smooth layer on the inside,
    • A thick layer of muscle in the middle, and
    • A rough layer on the outside.

    Cycle of Oxygen Delivery

    Clogged arteryArteries transport blood containing oxygen and nutrients to smaller tubes called arterioles, which then deliver blood to even smaller vessels called capillariesCapillaries are tiny, thin blood vessels that allow oxygen and nutrients to flow to nearby tissue. The tissue extracts the nutrients and oxygen from the blood.

    After the oxygen and nutrients have been delivered to the body’s tissues by the capillaries, another network in the body, made up of venules and veins, carries this oxygen-depleted blood and waste products back to the heart.

    The arteries throughout the body support many systems and are critical to your cardiovascular health and many other functions of your blood, including nutrient delivery.

    Your arteries are strong and flexible, but they can become less effective over time. A substance called plaque can build up in the arteries, restricting blood flow and ultimately stopping or blocking it altogether. This plaque is a serious cardiovascular disease and causes heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease or renal artery disease.  

    Making healthy lifestyle decisions and seeking out timely medical care can help prevent, manage, and even correct diseases of the arteries.

  • More About Your Arteries

    Heart & Vascular Disease

    While the heart is an amazing organ that works dependably for us throughout our lives, a number of things can go wrong with it. Please learn more about these common heart problems here.

    Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Options for Treatment

    For many people, keeping your heart and arteries as healthy as possible is a two-part process involving prevention and treatment. Whether you have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or wish to minimize your risk factors, your doctors and other healthcare providers can work with you to identify the best choices for you among a range of treatment and prevention options.

    Your Cardiovascular Care Team

    A primary care physician such as your family physician, an internist, or an obstetrician/gynecologist may be the first to determine that you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease and to initiate treatments. This physician might recommend dietary changes, exercise and medications. Or your primary care doctor may refer you to a heart specialist, or cardiologist, for further diagnosis and treatment.

    Your Cardiovascular System

    The human body has different systems for handling different functions. All of these systems are vital for health and life. Your heart and arteries are part of the cardiovascular system. The cardiovascular system distributes blood throughout your body. As you explore information about your heart and arteries, you may also hear the term circulatory system. The cardiovascular system is part of your larger circulatory system.