The Four Parts of Blood

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The blood in your body is equivalent to seven percent of your body weight. This important substance has many different elements that make it the main carrier of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and essential nutrients throughout the body. There are four parts of blood: platelets, plasma, and red and white blood cells.

When an injury to a blood vessel occurs, platelets, which are fragments of cells, rush in to help the blood clotting process. They bind to the site of the damaged blood vessel and create a layer that the blood clot can build on. Platelets have an active shape that resembles the tentacles of an octopus that spreads over the injured site of the blood vessel.

components of blood graphic

Plasma is the liquid in your blood that carries all the other parts of blood throughout the body. Plasma is a mixture of salts, proteins, sugars, water, and fat, and it makes up more than half of your blood! The role of plasma is to transport necessary nutrients to the body, but it also helps remove waste excreted from cells.

The most abundant type of cells in blood are red blood cells, or erythrocytes. Red blood cells are shaped like donuts, and after maturing in the bone marrow, they are released to the bloodstream. The main function of red blood cells is to carry oxygen to the body and carbon dioxide to the lungs, aided by the protein hemoglobin.

White blood cells only account for 1 percent of your blood, but they are vital to fighting off bacteria and viruses to protect the body against infection. The more common type of white blood cells are neutrophils, which are deployed first to the site of an infection and release enzymes that kill harmful microorganisms in the blood.

These four parts of the blood work together to create an extensive system of protection, transportation, and healing that allows your body to perform at the highest level.

References:
American Society of Hematology: https://www.hematology.org/education/patients/blood-basics#:~:text=Blood%20is%20a%20specialized%20body,to%20the%20lungs%20and%20tissues

Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/how-much-blood-in-human-body#:~:text=Adults%3A%20The%20average%20adult%20weighing,about%204%2C500%20to%205%2C700%20mL