To understand how headaches arise you need to know a little about the structure and function of organs such as blood vessels, muscles, sinuses, nerves and lymph glands in the head. This knowledge will also help you to interpret your symptoms and understand information provided by your doctors and consultants.
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Blood vessels and Headache
Arteries carry blood away from the heart, veins carry blood to the heart. Both vary in size; smaller arteries are called arterioles, smaller veins are venules. Linking the two types of vessel is a huge network of tiny blood vessels called capillaries. It is these which provide most of the blood to our skin.
Arteries as part of Headache
Arteries have three layers in their walls:
. an inner surface made up of cells which are constantly being replaced as they wear out by blood cells and
other components of the bloodstream.
. The middle layer consists of elastic tissue which enables the blood vessel to stretch when necessary - known as vaso-dilation - to allow the pumping movement of blood.
. The outer layer contains some muscle fibers which limit the stretch of the elastic layer so that pressure and blood flow remain even during the pumping cycle of the heart.
Blood flows from arteries to arterioles then to capillaries.
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