Your body’s circulatory system is made up of so much more than just your heart. But what are blood vessels actually? They are a vast, intricate system of muscle-comprised elastic tubes. And they work together to ensure you get blood to every part of your body, which makes your blood vessels quite literally the bloodline to your life.
Due to their importance, medical professionals place much emphasis on coming up with new endovascular procedures through conferences, events, and studies that aim to make these procedures safer, more innovative, and of course, much more effective. Without functioning blood vessels, organs like your heart and lungs wouldn’t get the proper oxygen or nutrients they need. With that in mind, here’s are a few facts about blood vessels:
Blood Vessels Are Responsible For Brain Freeze
If you’ve ever had a brain freeze, than you know exactly how uncomfortable it can be. It’s that feeling when you take a bit of ice cream or a popsicle, and you get an extreme headache that feels as though ice has just been siphoned into your brain. The scientific term for this is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, and it’s your brain’s way of telling you it’s time to slow down.
“Brain freeze is really a type of headache that is rapid in onset, but rapidly resolved as well,” neuroscientist Dwayne Godwin said in an interview. “Our mouths are highly vascularized, including the tongue—that’s why we take our temperatures there. But drinking a cold beverage fast doesn’t give the mouth time to absorb the cold very well.”
Brain freezes occur when you sip or bite into cold substances, which changes the temperature in the back of the throat too quickly. At the back of your throat, you have your internal carotid artery, and this artery is responsible for feeding blood to the brain. Your brain tissue begin at the anterior cerebral artery, which also sits on the throat juncture. Your brain’s receptors start where these two arteries meet, and it’s these receptors that are triggered by the freeze.
Chocolate Helps Your Blood Vessels
There are many benefits of chocolate, and one of those benefits involves the health of your blood vessels. According to a study published in Heart, a scientific journal, consuming moderate amounts of chocolate—particularly dark chocolate— could keep your blood vessels healthy and lower your risk of stroke and heart disease. This is because chocolate contains micronutrients that have very strong antioxidant properties.
Blood Vessels Create a Force Field Around Your Brain
The blood-brain barrier is a network of blood vessels that create a critical defense system around your brain. According to the National Cancer Institute, these blood vessels, combined with tissues, are so closely-spaced together that they create a barrier that prevents harmful substances from entering the brain, while allowing good substances, like oxygen and water, to pass through.
Because this barrier is so strong, it actually presents difficulties for doctors who want to deliver certain medications, like anticancer medications. While some amounts of general anesthesia will pass through, this barrier doesn’t understand many foreign substances and their mission to the brain. Parkinson’s disease and brain cancer are the most negatively impacted by the force field, though looking at the larger picture, the blood-brain barrier does significantly more good than bad.
They Are Affected By the Weather
Your body’s circulatory system is what maintains your internal temperature. Your blood vessels will naturally expand or constrict depending on whether you need more heat or to need to conserve heat. However, there are some temperature situations which can dramatically affect your blood vessels and their ability to carry out their operations. For instance, if your feet are exposed to icy cold conditions for a prolonged period of time, your blood vessels will constrict and shut down circulation, which would eventually cause the skin tissue to die.
You Have Enough Blood Vessels to Circle the Globe
According to the U.S. National Institute on Aging, if you laid out your blood vessels in a straight line, they would measure 60,000 miles in length. The circumference of Earth’s length is just close to 25,000 miles, which means the blood vessels in a human could circle the globe twice, and then some. Additionally, your heart delivers 1,800 gallons of blood to your body each day, and over the course of a lifetime, your blood vessels pump a million barrels of blood.