Facts About Arteries

  • An artery is a tube-like blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart.
  • Systemic arteries deliver oxygenated blood around the body. Pulmonary arteries deliver deoxygenated blood to the lungs.
  • An arteriole is a smaller branch off an artery. Arterioles branch into microscopic capillaries.
  • Blood flows through arteries at 30 cm per second in the main artery, down to 2 cm or less per second in the arterioles.
  • Arteries run alongside most of the veins that return blood to the heart.
  • The walls of arteries arc muscular and can expand or relax to control the blood flow.
  • Arteries have thicker, stronger walls than veins, and the pressure of the blood in them is a lot higher.
  • Over-thickening of the artery walls may be one of the causes of hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • In old age the artery walls can become very stiff. This hardening of the arteries, called arteriosclerosis, can cut blood flow to the brain.