Blood – The Special Juice
The most vital fluid in the body is the blood. It brings nutrients and oxygen to the cells and also removes waste materials such as carbon dioxide from the body. This vital fluid is composed of:
Red cells are large microscopic cells without a nuclei. These cells transport oxygen from the lungs to all tissues of the body and carry away carbon dioxide.
White blood cells also known as leucocytes are produced in the bone marrow and are the first responders to our immune system. They seek out, identify and attach to unfamiliar protein on bacteria, viruses and fungi so that they can be removed. A low white cell count makes the body more susceptible to developing infections. In patients with cancers, a low white cell count may be caused by cancer cells crowding out normal white-blood-cell producing cells in the bone marrow.
Plasma is a pale straw-coloured liquid consisting of 90% of water and 10% of various other substances. Plasma brings nourishment to the cells in the body as the heart pumps blood to them and removes the waste products of metabolism.
Platelets also known as thrombocytes, are irregularly shaped, membrane-bound cell fragments without a nuclei that work with blood clotting chemicals at the site of wounds. Recent research revealed that platelets also helps in fighting infections by releasing proteins that kill invading bacteria and some other micro organisms and also stimulate the immune system. Apart from transporting nutrients and removing waste products from the body, the blood has a variety of other functions. These include:
- transporting oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body
- Fighting against infections by clotting of the platelets, immunity and phagocytosis
- Distributing heat throughout the body
- maintaining constant blood solute and pH
There are many illnesses and conditions associated with the blood. These include hemorrhage, hematoma, leukemia (blood cancer), multiple myeloma, lymphoma, anaemia, poikilocytosis, hemolytic amaemia, haemochromatosis, sickle cell disease, bacteremia, malaria, thrombocytopenia, haemophilia, polycythemia, deep vein thrombosis and myocardial infarction.