<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

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

why human blood pressure high
amin Reply
What is red blood cell
HANNAH Reply
A type of blood cell that is made in the bone marrow and found in the blood. Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Checking the number of red blood cells in the blood is usually part of a complete blood cell (CBC) test. It
Noor
how will you promote quality of life in ptb patient using the 14 basic needs and 21 nursing problems?
rOx Reply
coronary circulation ?
Juri Reply
Coronary circulation is the circulation of blood in the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle (myocardium). Coronary arteries supply oxygenated blood to the heart muscle, and cardiac veins drain away the blood once it has been deoxygenated. Because the rest of the body.
Riyaz
coronary circulation ,is flow of blood that supplies the heart tissue itself is the coronary circulation. the functional blood supply of the heart,is the shortest circulation in tha body.
Vineeta
what about the easy way to understand action potential
Bright
event of cardiac cycle
Juri Reply
hii
Chandan
whatisanatom
kaso Reply
anatomy is the scientific way of studying the body structure.
cynthia
the branch of science concerned with the bodily structure of humans, animals, and other living organisms, especially as revealed by dissection and the separation of parts.
Noor
what is means by LAPE and HAPE
Noor
guys i've question what occur when homeostasis balance mechanisms lost
cris Reply
Bladder is blank to the small intestine, what is the right directional term for that?
Julaika Reply
When peristaltic movement is correct.
Farid
what tissue that support body organ?
Sabrina Reply
the skeleton
veronica
Skeleton
GEBAH
skeleton
Juwita
skeleton
Farid
skeleton
Priya
skeleton
Emmanuel
skeleton
Noor
skeleton
BILAL
skeleton
hanuman
how many bones are there in the body
hanuman Reply
go uuu
Prasad
206
Prasad
206
Nelago
206
Esmeralda
206
Joey
baby me 360. and human body 206.found bones.....
Sneha
what is a tissue in Anatomy and physiology
Nelago
206 bones
Juwita
what is an example of a molecule that can directly pass through the phospholipid bilayer of the plasma membrane?
Kathy
206
Johara
how many bones are there in the hand and wrist
hanuman
200 tissue
hanuman
answer 206 bones
GEBAH
axial 80 appendicular 126 total bone is 206
Vineeta
wrist bone 8
Vineeta
baby bone 270 he is correct answer
hanuman
Jo carpus wrist bone h
Vineeta
206
Musonda
206 bones in human body.
Farid
What is Heart attack?
Farid
206
Priti
206 all
Sa
All 206
Sa
A heart attack happens when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked and the heart can't get oxygen. If blood flow isn't restored quickly, the section of heart muscle begins to die. Heart attack treatment works best when it's given right after symptoms occu
Riyaz
how can l understand Anatomy quickly?
Agness Reply
you can't!!!! Anatomy is easy but the physiology takes time to understand. Anatomy is simply systems and organs but you must take time to learn physiology to understand how the anatomy works
Rachael
alright.. so how can l at least memorize the information about physiology?
Agness
what name is given to the fluid that is drawn from the villi to the lymphatic vessels
margaret Reply
I think venous
Noor
lymph
Rachael
I also think it's lymph
Akhi
me too I think lymph
Esmeralda
ans Rhythmic contraction
GEBAH
what are the ten (10) rights for drug administration
GEBAH
importance of muscle in the anatomical structures.
Akomeng Reply
it permits the constant level of movement,and gives structure and shape to the body
Priya
what is assimilation
Asiimwe Reply
cellular level organism level chemical level organ system level tissue level organ level
Aleah Reply
, the current topic
Hilya
cellular level
Priya
tissue level
Priya
organ level
Priya
organ systems level
Priya
organism level
Priya

Get the best Anatomy & Physiology course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Anatomy & Physiology' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask