Blood vessels are primarily responsible for the transport of blood through the organism. Blood vessels that run to the heart are called veins. Blood vessels leading away from the heart are called arteries. The largest artery in our body, the aorta, is a main artery leading from the left half of the heart, transporting oxygen-rich blood via branching arteries to various parts of the body.
Structure of the aorta
The diameter of the aorta is about 3 cm. It has a length of about 30 to 40 cm and is anatomically divided into different sections:
- Aorta ascendens: ascending body artery
- Arc aortae: aortic arch
- Aorta descendens: descending body artery
- Thoracic aorta: thoracic aorta
- Abdominal aorta: abdominal section of the aorta (divided once again into the abdominal aorta above and below the renal vessels)
In addition, numerous aortic branches, branches and arteries lead from the main artery.
Diseases of the aorta
"Man is as old as his vessels". The German physician, scientist and founder of cellular pathology, Rudolf Virchow (1821 - 1902), recognized this early on. Healthy arteries are elastic and muscular. In case of pathological vasoconstriction one speaks of arteriosclerosis or atherosclerosis. At first, deposits of fat, thrombi, connective tissue and lime on the walls of the vessel lead to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, which flow together in the arterial vessels and narrow them. For the aorta, such a vasoconstriction can have devastating consequences:
- Aortariss (aortic dissection):
Arteriosclerosis can cause deep bleeding craters in the arterial walls of the vessel and thus also in the aorta. If furrows form in the innermost vessel wall, this is called an aortic dissection (aortic dissection). This life-threatening condition is usually accompanied by sudden onset of pain. It comes to bleeding in the vessel wall, which no longer uniform blood circulation can occur and a shortage of organs threatens. If surgery is not initiated immediately, there is a risk of the outer vessel wall rupturing as well. The result would be that the aorta bursts, which affected people in most cases do not survive.
- Extension of the aorta:
Atherosclerosis can not only narrow the vessels, but also widen them. Calcified arteries lose elasticity over time, meaning they are less elastic than healthy arteries. As a result, they can only conditionally react to changing blood pressure and changes in flow velocity. In the area of the aorta this can lead to Ausackungen (aneurysms). If the diameter of the aorta increases to more than seven centimeters, there is a risk of rupture of over 60 percent. Patients whose aneurysm grows more than 0.5 cm within one year are considered to be at greatest risk. Again, there is a risk that the aorta bursts.
Atherosclerosis usually occurs only in old age. Men are affected more frequently than women. Smokers, diabetics and severely overweight people are also included in the risk group. Those who want to prevent atherosclerosis, should move as much as possible in the fresh air and refrain from sugary, high-fat foods. On the other hand, garlic is said to have a beneficial effect on the coronary vessels.