Science made simple

From how many veins there are in the body to why men have Adam’s apples

We explore some of the curious questions that science can answer

<p>Handy fact: there are approximately 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the body</p>

Handy fact: there are approximately 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the body

How many veins are there in the human body? Do all people have the same amount of veins?

Blood is pumped round our body by the heart and passes through several types of “tubes” before it comes back to the heart. Blood from the heart is first pumped through the tough, elastic arteries. The aorta, which is the main artery from the heart, branches to form the systemic circulation that takes oxygen to all body tissues. These arteries taper down gradually in size, until they branch into the capillaries, which are very tiny thin-walled tubes where gas exchanges with the tissues take place. Veins, gradually increasing in size, carry the deoxygenated blood back to your heart.

The total length of all the blood vessels in the body is approximately 97,000km, or 60,000 miles – twice the circumference of the Equator. However, the majority of these vessels are actually capillaries, and it’s very difficult to give exact numbers here. There are veins coming from all major body areas, but not everyone will have the same amount; the smaller you are, the less blood you have and so the fewer blood vessels you will need. However, everybody has veins and arteries that go to all the parts of the body, so that’s at least 34 main veins, and many more smaller veins connecting with the capillaries.

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