What is Blood?

Most people are familiar with blood and some of its main functions. But for how vitally important blood is to our well being and normal operations, blood is much more than red blood cells carrying oxygen. This week, we will explore the different components of blood and the functions that it does to keep your body healthy and active.

Blood Cells

As most already know, blood contains certain types of blood cells that carry out different functions. While the red blood cells (erythrocytes) use hemoglobin to transport oxygen to different parts of the body, white blood cells act as your body’s defense system in case of an attack. There are three different types of white blood cells which serve different purposes.

Granulocytes- Aids the healing process and attacks infections.

Lymphocytes- Can be broken up into two categories. B Cells make proteins called antibodies which are specifically made to target and attack a single type of virus or bacteria. T cells destroy cells that are infected and helps your immune system work cohesively.

Monocytes- Kills viruses and bacteria.

Platelets

Each platelet is not a cell but in fact, small pieces of cells that are suspended in blood, somewhat like debris. They are an instrumental component of blood for their clotting factors in a bleeding scenario. Platelets stick to the lining of the damaged blood vessel and allow blood coagulation to occur, leading to clotting. Not only does clots stop bleeding, it also creates the basis for new tissue to regenerate.

Plasma

It’s mostly comprised of water, around 90%, but the remaining 10% is very crucial to your body. That 10% contains important proteins, antibodies, vitamins, and nutrients that are sent to parts of the body that need it as well as remove the waste in the body.

Regulation

Blood is important in the regulation of the body in many aspects. For one, plasma, as mentioned earlier, is important in providing help to parts of the body that needs it. Plasma also helps with temperature regulation as blood is warmer than the rest of the body. Blood’s pH is also heavily regulated to ensure that it’s compatible with the body.

With the pandemic putting strains on our lives and livelihoods, it’s important now more than ever to donate blood. Not only does it save lives, but it helps put an end to this devastating virus. If you are ever interested in becoming a blood donor, please visit https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/blood-donation-process/donation-process-overview.html to see more information on how to become a donor in your state as every state is different. For more information on blood donation especially in a pandemic, please refer to the other articles on the matter posted in our blog section.

Forbes Aggabao -Alexander’s Hope Intern

Sources:

WebMD

Hematology

StanfordChildrens

NIH

Images:

Shutterstock

IstockPhoto