A brief understanding of the four types of components of blood

Knowing the components of blood is very basic for a medical student. The components of blood have many cellular structures. While doing the medical experiments you might have noticed that when a sample of blood is tested in a centrifuge machine they get separated into plasma, buffy coat and erythrocytes. And this is how a blood cell contains red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. 

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  • Plasma

Your blood in the liquid state can be transformed into plasma which makes up 55% of blood. The color of plasma is pale yellow and it contains salt, nutrients, water and enzymes. Important proteins and other necessary elements of your body are contained in the blood plasma. Patients suffering from liver failure and other serious issues are treated with blood plasma. Some of the proteins that you should know are present in blood plasma are

  1. Serum albumin
  2. Serum globulin
  3. Fibrinogen
  • Red blood cells or RBC

Red blood cells are continuously produced in your bone marrow. Red blood cells mainly contain proteins like hemoglobin. Two to three drops of blood can make about one million blood cells. Red blood cell has a very important role in the functioning of your body. It carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of the parts of your body. Similarly while making the returning process it takes carbon dioxide back to your lungs for exhalation. RBCs are commonly transfused blood components. Patients suffering from chronic anemia or gastrointestinal bleeding and acute blood loss can be treated with red blood cells.

  • White blood cells

When you suffer from infections and your immune system becomes weaker, white blood cells help to fight against such diseases. White blood cells defend the immune system from foreign pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. Like the red blood cells, the white blood cells are also produced from the bone marrow. Your bone marrow can store up to 80-90% of white blood cells. WBC are again classified into three main categories –

  1. Granulocytes- This type of WBC in your body contains small granules of proteins.
  2. Lymphocytes- The B-cells, T-cells and natural killer cells part of lymphocytes are included in your white blood cells.
  3. Monocytes- Monocytes are the key protectors in white blood cells that help fight against infections in your body.
  • Platelets-  

The tiny blood components or cells that help your body to form blood clotting to stop bleeding is because of platelets. If any of your blood vessels get infected, platelets are responsible for recovering. Along with white and red blood cells, platelets are also formed in your bone marrow. Platelets are also known as thrombocytes and it looks like very tiny plate.

Why are blood vessels important in your body?

The blood is carried throughout your body with the help of blood vessels. Your circulatory system is formed with the combination of blood vessels and heart vessels together. Around 60000 miles of blood vessels are contained in your body. The waste products and carbon dioxide present in your organs and tissues are emptied by your blood vessels.

Types of blood vessels present in your body-

  • Arteries

Arteries are strong and muscular and carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart to your body. They do not carry a large volume of blood present in your body but can handle a large amount of force and pressure from the blood flow. Only 10-15% of your body’s blood is found in the arteries.

  • Arterioles

The smaller vessels of the arteries are called arterioles. Arterioles can either get bigger or smaller working accordingly to maintain your blood pressure. Artioles and arteries are both flexible.

  • Capillaries

Capillaries are tiny blood vessels having thin walls. The oxygen and nutrients in your body can pass from the blood to the walls and get into the organs and tissues. When the oxygen and nutrients are exchanged for carbon dioxide and waste, it takes place in the capillaries.

  • Venules

Venules are tiny vessels that later become the veins in your body. It becomes larger gradually when it moves near your heart. The blood present in venules is produced from the capillaries.

  • Veins

Veins carry a large amount of deoxygenated blood to your heart. Veins present in your body can handle high and low pressure with the help of thin and less elastic walls. Most of the veins have open and closed valves. The blood in your body moves in one direction and the blood flow is maintained in your body because of the veins. You will find 75% of your blood in the veins.

How does the flow of blood take place in your body?

The first responsibility is taken by the veins that take the blood to the right side of your heart. After that, the pulmonary arteries carry the blood to your lungs. The aorta and the capillaries work in between to allow oxygen and empty the waste products. And finally, veins carry the blood back to the heart and this is how the process of blood takes place.

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