Most people think about the heart when they think of the body's cardiovascular and circulatory system. However, the heart wouldn't be able to function and keep you alive without the work of the blood vessels. This network of vessels ensures that every part of your body gets the blood, oxygen and nutrients it needs to function properly and stay healthy. In other words, blood vessels are important, too. Here are a few facts about blood vessels that you probably don't know:
1. You Could Go Around the Globe Twice with Your Blood Vessels.
Have you ever wondered just how long your body's blood vessels were if they were to be laid out in a line, end-to-end? Well, the answer is actually pretty shocking. Since blood vessels are small, you wouldn't think that they would go very far. However, this is incredibly far from being the truth. In fact, if laid out in a line, end-to-end, your blood vessels would measure over 60,000 miles. Since the earth has a circumference of nearly 25,000 miles, your blood vessels could go around the entire globe twice and still have some extra left.
2. Your Blood Vessels Will Carry Nearly 50 Million Gallons of Blood in a Lifetime.
You may know that your heart pumps a significant amount of blood every day and throughout your life, but do you realize just how much blood is being carried through your blood vessels? Your blood is constantly flowing, and your heart is able to pump roughly 2,000 gallons of blood every single day through your blood vessels. Over the course of your life, that's roughly 48 million gallons of blood that has been carried through your blood vessels.
3. Your Guilty Pleasure (Chocolate) May Benefit Your Blood Vessels.
According to June 2015 study, chocolate can offer numerous healthy benefits. This is particularly true when it comes to your heart, as it can help to keep your heart and its functioning blood vessels healthy. Chocolate, in moderation, can also help reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease. The reason for this is thanks to the micronutrients, aka flavonoids, found in the chocolate, which have antioxidant properties and can help reduce inflammation as well as your blood pressure. Dark chocolate tends to have more flavonoids than milk chocolate.
4. Your Headaches from Eating Ice Cream May Be Due to Your Blood Vessels.
When you think about those ice cream headaches that you get, you probably don't even consider your blood vessels having anything to do with them at all. However, they are likely the primary cause. According to Mayo Clinic, the excessive cold temperature created restricts blood flow to the nervous system, which is what causes the brief and painful headache. Once the blood vessels relax, blood flow is back to normal and your headache subsides as your body gets back to its normal temperature. Who would have thought?
Your blood vessels are just as important part of the circulatory and cardiovascular system as your heart is. Both your heart and blood vessels need to be healthy in order to keep your blood flowing. In order to do this, you should consider a healthy diet and exercise regimen and you should stop smoking. To find out what it takes to protect your blood vessels and your heart, contact a heart doctor or your primary care physician.
For more information, contact Cayuga Medical Center or a similar location.