Understanding Your Blood
and its Components
Blood is vitally important. The average human body has about 10 pints of blood. As blood circulates through your body, it supplies your cells with essential substances like oxygen and nutrients. It also transports waste products away from your cells. Blood helps to regulate your body and protects you from disease and injury.
Blood donations save lives. Donor blood is the only hope for patients who are in need of a blood transfusion. Thanks to modern medicine, blood from a single donor can help multiple patients because the whole blood can be separated into its four components: red blood cells, platelets, plasma and white blood cells.
At Heartland Blood Centers, we collect red blood cells, platelets, plasma, and whole blood.
Red Blood Cells
Red blood cells comprise about 45 percent of blood volume. These cells deliver oxygen to your lungs and transport carbon dioxide. Red blood cell donations are used to help trauma victims and replenish lost blood. They are also used in surgery and to combat blood disorders like Sickle Cell Disease.
Plasma is a yellowish fluid, made up of water, vital proteins, salts, sugars, fats, vitamins, and hormones. It is the fluid portion of your blood that carries the three other blood components. Plasma donations are used to treat burn victims. Donations can also help patients suffering from shock or from clotting disorders.
Platelets are the smallest of your blood cells. They are your body’s first line of defense against internal and external bleeding. They help control and prevent bleeding by interacting with proteins that promote blood clotting. Platelet donations are vital for patients undergoing cancer treatment or organ transplants.
White Blood Cells
White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, account for about one percent of your blood. They are essential for good health. They protect your body against illness and disease. They flow through the body’s bloodstream and even tissue attacking foreign bodies, like viruses and bacteria. Like red blood cells, they are produced from the marrow in your bones.
Did You Know There Are 8 Different Blood Types?
No matter which blood type you have, your blood is critically important and helps save lives. After you donate for the first time, you may also find that you’re a rare blood type donor. Learn more about each of the eight blood types. One of them is yours.