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Arteries Carry Away
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The heart pumps blood out through one main artery called the dorsal aorta. The main artery then
divides and branches out into many smaller arteries so that each region of your body has its own
system of arteries supplying it with fresh, oxygen-rich blood.

Arteries are tough on the outside and smooth on the inside. An artery actually has three layers: an
outer layer of tissue, a muscular middle, and an inner layer of epithelial cells. The muscle in the middle
is elastic and very strong. The inner layer is very smooth so that the blood can flow easily with no
obstacles in its path.

The muscular wall of the artery helps the heart pump the blood. When the heart beats, the artery
expands as it fills with blood. When the heart relaxes, the artery contracts, exerting a force that it
strong enough to push the blood along. This rhythm between the heart and the artery results in an
efficient circulation system.

You can actually feel your artery expand and contract. Since the artery keeps pace with the heart,
we can measure heart rate by counting the contractions of the artery. That's how we take our pulse.

The arteries deliver the oxygen-rich blood to the capillaries where the actual exchange of oxygen and
carbon dioxide occurs. The capillaries then deliver the waste-rich blood to the veins for transport
back to the lungs and heart.

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