Sounds like a silly thing to ask, but how much do most of us really know about our blood? Just the basics, probably. And I’m willing to bet that the majority of us, until we were diagnosed with our blood disorders, never thought much about our blood, unless we were unfortunate enough to be injured in some way.
Firstly, all of our blood is manufactured in the bone marrow. Whole blood, or the blood running through your veins, arteries and capillaries is a mixture of approximately 55% plasma, and 45% blood cells (we’ll go into more detail about each blood part in the next few articles). For now, let’s talk a little about what our blood does.
1) Oxygenated blood is carried, through arteries around the body and it delivers oxygen and nutrients to our organs and other tissues.
2) Our blood forms clots, when we have been injured, to help stop excessive bleeding. (Of course, if like me, you have too many platelets…this whole clotting thing can get a little out of hand..)
3) Our blood also carries antibodies to help fight off infection
4) Our blood brings waste products from our bodies to the kidneys, and liver, which then filter the blood. After filtering, the blood is sent back to the heart through our veins.
5) Temperature regulation is one of the functions of our blood as well. In the heat, vasodilation occurs. This allows increased blood flow through the arteries. This directs blood closer to the skin’s surface, allowing the blood to release some heat. This also helps to explain why your face will turn red when you’re exercising. The exact opposite occurs in the cold. The arteries constrict, keeping blood flow closer to the internal organs, further from the surface of the skin, helping to explain why ones face/hands/legs may appear paler than usual in the cold.
Tomorrow we’ll start breaking down our blood into the main components!