29 Difference between Arteries and Veins (With Table)

The blood circulatory system helps to nourish living organisms with oxygen, nutrients, and hormones. It also helps to get rid of carbon dioxide and other metabolic wastes. 

Higher organisms have a well-structured heart that helps to facilitate blood circulation. The blood flow through developed vessels and channels to reach every part of the body. 

Some of the main blood vessels responsible for blood circulation are arteries, veins, and capillaries. But these blood vessels usually play different roles in the body. 

So, what is the main difference between arteries and veins? The former transport oxygenated blood to various parts of the body while the latter transport deoxygenated away from body parts to the heart for purification. 

The pulmonary artery and vein do not carry deoxygenated blood. Therefore, learning about the structural difference between arteries and veins is crucial. 

This article provides further differences between arteries and veins in a tabular form. Take the time to read through and get to know the histological difference between arteries and veins. 

Comparison Table (Arteries vs Veins)

Basic Terms




Blood vessels that transport oxygenated blood away from the heart.

Blood vessels that transport deoxygenated blood to the heart.

Physical Appearance




Occur deeper in the body.

Occur close to the skin surface.


Oxygenated blood except for the pulmonary artery.

Deoxygenated blood except for pulmonary vein.

Oxygen Level

Comparatively high.

Comparatively low.

Carbon Dioxide Level

Relatively low.

Relatively high.

Volume of blood

About 15%

About 65%


Has three thick layer tissue:

Outer coat

Middle coat

Inner coat

Has three thin layer tissues.

Tunica Adventitia

Less developed

More developed

Tunica Media

More muscular

Less muscular

Tunica Intima

Have endothelial cells that are more elongated.

Have endothelial cells that are less elongated.

Thickest Layer

Tunica media

Tunica adventitia


Stronger and rigid

Less strong





More flexible

Not flexible




Blood pressure

High flow rate

Low flow rate

Movement of Blood

Spurt movement

Sluggish movement


Detectable from the wrist.

Not detectable




Pathway of Blood Flow

Very distinct

Not distinguishable.

Collapsing of Vessel

Remain open throughout due to the thick muscular layer.

Usually, collapse if blood flow stops.

Injury to the Blood Vessel

Squirting blood

Pooling of blood

Contraction of muscle



At the time of death

Remain empty.

Filled with blood.


Elastic arteries

Muscular arteries


Deep veins

Superficial veins

Connecting veins

Associated Diseases

Atherosclerosis, Angina Pectoris, Artherogenesis- myocardial ischemia.

Deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins.

The direction of Blood Flow

From the heart to the body tissues.

From the body tissue to the heart.

What Are Arteries?

Arteries are blood vessels that originate from the heart and they are responsible for carrying blood away from the heart.

These blood vessels are known for transporting oxygenated blood except the pulmonary artery and umbilical artery which carry deoxygenated blood.

The arteries have a muscular tube that consists of three layers such as the intima, the media, and the adventitia. The blood is normally transported under high pressure.

Some of the common types of arteries are elastic arteries, muscular arteries, and arterioles. The structural adaption and function are what make them stand apart.

What Are Veins?

Veins are blood vessels that are responsible for carrying blood to the heart from various parts of the body.

These blood vessels are known for transporting deoxygenated blood except the pulmonary and umbilical vein which carry oxygenated blood.

Veins have three layers the Intima, Tunica Media, and Tunica Adventitia. The structural design and functions of these layers tend to be quite different.

Some of the common types of veins in the body are deep veins, superficial veins, pulmonary veins, and systemic veins.

Main Difference Between Arteries and Veins  

  1. The main role of arteries is to transport oxygenated blood except for the pulmonary artery while veins transport deoxygenated blood except for pulmonary veins.
  2. The oxygenated blood carried by arteries is reddish in color while deoxygenated blood carried by veins is bluish.
  3. Arteries tend to occur deep into the body while veins are located closer to the skin surface of the body.
  4. The lumen in arteries is quite narrower to generate more pressure while veins have a wider lumen which enhances low pressure.
  5. The total amount of blood transported by arteries is about 30% while that of the veins is about 65%. The rest 5% is transported by capillaries.
  6. Blood flow in the arteries is under high pressure while that of the veins is under low pressure.
  7. Pulmonary and systemic arteries are types of arteries while superficial veins, deep veins, pulmonary veins and systemic veins are types of veins.
  8. Common diseases affecting arteries are Atherosclerosis, and Myocardial ischemia while veins are deep vein thrombosis.

Similarities between Arteries and Veins

  1. Both are blood vessels
  2. Both carry blood
  3. Blood circulation is unidirectional in both
  4. Both consist of a layer of cells
  5. Both have three layers
  6. Both are covered by muscular tissues
  7. Both experiences vasoconstriction and vasodilation
  8. Both show anastomosis

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Arteries and veins are vital to blood vessels as far as the circulatory system is concerned. They help to transport blood to the body.

However, they tend to have some slight differences in function and structural adaptions. In case of any disease, try to consult professional doctors for examination and diagnosis.

I hope the structural difference between arteries and veins as well as the similarities between arteries and veins highlighted in the lesson is enough for your revision. 

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