what are the functions of the components of blood?
Blood is made up of red cells, white cells, plasma, and platelets. The functions of each are:
Blood also contains "clotting factors", which are also vital to the clotting process.
Rbc:The red cells are rich in hemoglobin, a protein able to bind in a faint manner to oxygen. Hence, these cells are responsible for providing oxygen to tissues and partly for recovering carbon dioxide produced as waste. However, most CO2 is carried by plasma, in the form of soluble carbonates.
Wbc:Leukocytes, or white cells, are responsible for the defense of the organism.
Platelets:The main function of platelets, or thrombocytes, is to stop the loss of blood from wounds (hematostasis). To this purpose, they aggregate and release factors which promote the blood coagulation.
The term soft tissue refers to tissues that connect, support, or surround other structures and organs of the body, not being bone. Soft tissue includes tendons, ligaments, fascia, skin, fibrous tissues, fat, and synovial membranes (which are connective tissue), and muscles, nerves and blood vessels (which are not connective tissue).
Red blood cells
The main function of red blood cells is to distribute oxygen to body tissues and to carry waste carbon dioxide back to the lungs.
Red cell transfusions are used to replace heavy blood loss (e.g. trauma, surgery, childbirth) or to correct severe anaemia when the bone marrow is not producing enough red cells (e.g. chemotherapy, leukaemia and thalassaemia). Anaemia is when your haemoglobin levels are lower than normal.
Red cells are filtered to remove the white blood cells and have a 35 day shelf life. Very rare blood groups can be frozen to be used at a later date, but this is not done commonly as it is an expensive and time-consuming process.
White blood cells
Seen here are two lymphocyte (left) cells and one neutrophil (right) cell of the human immune system.
White blood cells fight infection and are part of the body’s defence system. White cell transfusions can be given to patients suffering from life-threatening infections whose normal defence mechanisms don’t seem to be responding to antibiotics.
Platelets, or thrombocytes, are a constituent of the blood formed in the bone marrow.
These tiny fragments of cells are crucial in helping your blood to clot. If your platelet level is very low then you may suffer a lot from bruising and bleeding.
Everybody thinks that blood is red but the truth is that it's only the red blood cells that make it appear that way. Take them away (and the other cellular components) and you're left with plasma, a yellow coloured fluid that carries all blood cells. We process this to extract other products such as:
This protein is really useful when treating anyone who's been severely shocked or burned, or anyone who's lost large amounts of blood.
- Clotting factors
One of the major agents in plasma is Factor VIII. It helps anyone whose blood doesn't clot properly.