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Although you might expect blood flow through a capillary bed to be smooth, in reality, it moves with an irregular, pulsating flow. This pattern is called vasomotion    and is regulated by chemical signals that are triggered in response to changes in internal conditions, such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen ion, and lactic acid levels. For example, during strenuous exercise when oxygen levels decrease and carbon dioxide, hydrogen ion, and lactic acid levels all increase, the capillary beds in skeletal muscle are open, as they would be in the digestive system when nutrients are present in the digestive tract. During sleep or rest periods, vessels in both areas are largely closed; they open only occasionally to allow oxygen and nutrient supplies to travel to the tissues to maintain basic life processes.

Capillary bed

This diagram shows a capillary bed connecting an arteriole and a venule.
In a capillary bed, arterioles give rise to metarterioles. Precapillary sphincters located at the junction of a metarteriole with a capillary regulate blood flow. A thoroughfare channel connects the metarteriole to a venule. An arteriovenous anastomosis, which directly connects the arteriole with the venule, is shown at the bottom.

Venules

A venule    is an extremely small vein, generally 8–100 micrometers in diameter. Postcapillary venules join multiple capillaries exiting from a capillary bed. Multiple venules join to form veins. The walls of venules consist of endothelium, a thin middle layer with a few muscle cells and elastic fibers, plus an outer layer of connective tissue fibers that constitute a very thin tunica externa ( [link] ). Venules as well as capillaries are the primary sites of emigration or diapedesis, in which the white blood cells adhere to the endothelial lining of the vessels and then squeeze through adjacent cells to enter the tissue fluid.

Veins

A vein    is a blood vessel that conducts blood toward the heart. Compared to arteries, veins are thin-walled vessels with large and irregular lumens (see [link] ). Because they are low-pressure vessels, larger veins are commonly equipped with valves that promote the unidirectional flow of blood toward the heart and prevent backflow toward the capillaries caused by the inherent low blood pressure in veins as well as the pull of gravity. [link] compares the features of arteries and veins.

Comparison of veins and venules

The top panel shows the cross-section of a large vein, the middle panel shows the cross-section of a medium sized vein, and the bottom panel shows the cross-section of a venule.
Many veins have valves to prevent back flow of blood, whereas venules do not. In terms of scale, the diameter of a venule is measured in micrometers compared to millimeters for veins.
Comparison of Arteries and Veins
Arteries Veins
Direction of blood flow Conducts blood away from the heart Conducts blood toward the heart
General appearance Rounded Irregular, often collapsed
Pressure High Low
Wall thickness Thick Thin
Relative oxygen concentration Higher in systemic arteries
Lower in pulmonary arteries
Lower in systemic veins
Higher in pulmonary veins
Valves Not present Present most commonly in limbs and in veins inferior to the heart

Disorders of the…

Cardiovascular system: edema and varicose veins

Despite the presence of valves and the contributions of other anatomical and physiological adaptations we will cover shortly, over the course of a day, some blood will inevitably pool, especially in the lower limbs, due to the pull of gravity. Any blood that accumulates in a vein will increase the pressure within it, which can then be reflected back into the smaller veins, venules, and eventually even the capillaries. Increased pressure will promote the flow of fluids out of the capillaries and into the interstitial fluid. The presence of excess tissue fluid around the cells leads to a condition called edema.

Most people experience a daily accumulation of tissue fluid, especially if they spend much of their work life on their feet (like most health professionals). However, clinical edema goes beyond normal swelling and requires medical treatment. Edema has many potential causes, including hypertension and heart failure, severe protein deficiency, renal failure, and many others. In order to treat edema, which is a sign rather than a discrete disorder, the underlying cause must be diagnosed and alleviated.

Varicose veins

This photo shows a person’s leg.
Varicose veins are commonly found in the lower limbs. (credit: Thomas Kriese)

Edema may be accompanied by varicose veins, especially in the superficial veins of the legs ( [link] ). This disorder arises when defective valves allow blood to accumulate within the veins, causing them to distend, twist, and become visible on the surface of the integument. Varicose veins may occur in both sexes, but are more common in women and are often related to pregnancy. More than simple cosmetic blemishes, varicose veins are often painful and sometimes itchy or throbbing. Without treatment, they tend to grow worse over time. The use of support hose, as well as elevating the feet and legs whenever possible, may be helpful in alleviating this condition. Laser surgery and interventional radiologic procedures can reduce the size and severity of varicose veins. Severe cases may require conventional surgery to remove the damaged vessels. As there are typically redundant circulation patterns, that is, anastomoses, for the smaller and more superficial veins, removal does not typically impair the circulation. There is evidence that patients with varicose veins suffer a greater risk of developing a thrombus or clot.

Questions & Answers

which nerve orginates from pons
Kripa Reply
trigeminal nerve
madhuri
demand and supply rules
jamac Reply
compative demand and supply
jamac
compare demand and supply
jamac
what are simple epithelial tissues
Ushie Reply
is a type of tissue which covers the external and internal part of the body
Fatou
more information would be better understanding.
Tasha
what is platelets
Lilian Reply
platelet is also known as thrombocyte.thrombo means clot.it is a formed element of blood formed from fragment of megakaryocyte surrounded by plasma membrane in the redbone marow
Adeyemo
what is diabetes insipidus
namrata Reply
it is an infection due to less or no secretion of ADH characterized by excretion of dilute urine
Meshack
Infection? I don't think any form of diabetes, whether it's mellitus or insipidus, is caused by an infection.
Matias
ya
Akanyijuka
it is the disorder of salt & water metabolism
Emma
diabetes inspidus is a condition were the liver can't produce insulin to convert the excess sugar to glycogen.
mangs
sorry that is for diabetes mellitus
mangs
what is septal cartilage
Arthur Reply
I don't understand please
Esther Reply
hey
Austine
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Austine
Evening
Esther
good evening
Melissa
evening
Vitus
hi
Rodgers
good morning
Aurelia
hello
Helsa
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Aurelia
Philippines
Helsa
im from india
Aurelia
Hello
Amos
why
Sami
wat
Rodgers
what's that
Gift
what's the medulla?
alhussiney Reply
The medulla oblongata or simply medulla is a long stem-like structure which makes up the lower part of the brainstem. It is anterior and partially inferior to the cerebellum
Ludmila
define bone in simple terms
Mhoses Reply
bones are made up by collagen and calcium phosphate
Aurelia
yes
Confidence
Bones are the hard large calcareous connective tissue of which the adult skeleton of most vertebrates is chiefly composed
Olalekan
Bone is the substance that forms skeleton
Frances
good morning
Mrinal
Skelton muscles is any disorder of calcium
Mrinal
Bones protect the various organs of the body
Celina
Bone is a hard strong and durable type of connective tissue
Bkv
bone is a hard, calcareous connective tissue which gives structural support to the body and helpless in its locomotion!
Divya
It also is the main site for synthesis of the RBCs
Divya
thanks for your answers
Mhoses
A diagram of epithelial tissue
Emmanuel Reply
What does the urinary regulate blood pressure
Jennifer Reply
functions of melatonin
marion Reply
d. inversely proportional
John Reply
Airway resistance in the human lung is? a. Greatest in the generation of distal bronchioles in healthy people because these airways have the smallest radii b. Not increased during a forced expiration in a healthy subject c. Decreased when breathing through the mouth d. Inversely proportional
Maryam Reply
1. Chemical level 2. Cellular level 3.Tissue level 4. Organ level 5.Organ system level 5.Organismal level
Jamela Reply
d
HMD
High
HMD
hlw
Maryam
------is not a content of femoral canal? a. Fatty tissue b. Femoral nerve c. Lymph vessels d. Lymph node
Maryam
a
Alhassan

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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