Cardiovascular System: Blood

Morgan Jensen

Overall Blood Characteristics

Components of Blood

  • Plasma 55%
  • Erythrocytes (Red Blood Cells) 45%
  • Leukocytes (White Blood Cells) <1%
  • Platelets <1%

How much blood is in our body?

  • 1-1.5 gallons of blood in the human body

Where blood is produced in the body?

  • blood is produced in the red bone marrow

What controls the production of blood in the body?

  • thrombopoietin
  • leucokinin
  • erythropoeitin

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What are its characteristics?

90% is water

7-9% is plasma proteins

yellowish tint in color

What is the function of Plasma?

plasma helps maintain blood flow

Why are people paid to donate plasma?

The proteins in the plasma help to treat rare, chronic diseases.

How does the process of donating work?

A receptionist will check your I.D. and send you to get a physical examination if it is your first time. They will then take a small blood sample to check your iron and protein levels. After that they will prepare you for the donation and then start the procedure.

How is the plasma separated from the rest of the blood?

They centrifuge the blood to separate the plasma from the blood

Erythrocytes (Red Blood Cells)

What are its characteristics?

  • biconcave disk shape
  • no nucleus
  • red in color
  • filled with hemoglobin
  • produced in red bone marrow

What is the function of red blood cells?

The red blood cells contain hemoglobin which helps to carry oxygen to the rest of the body

How do they help our body maintain homeostasis?

Without the red blood cells carrying oxygen throughout the body, the other cells and organs would not be able to function properly to help the body maintain homeostasis.

Hematocrit test and how it works:

A hematocrit test indicates whether you have too few or too many red blood cells in your body. The doctors will take a sample of your blood and then use a centrifuge to separate the blood into plasma, red blood cells, and other blood cells. After they are separated they measure the amount of red blood cells to tell whether or not you have to few or too many.

The importance of hemoglobin in red blood cells:

Hemoglobin is important because it is the protein that carries the oxygen through our body to keep everything working as it should.

What is a hemoglobin test?

A hemoglobin test is a test used to measure the amount of hemoglobin in your blood. This test will reveal if you have low levels of hemoglobin or anemia.

What is anemia:

Anemia is a low level of hemoglobin in the blood. If the levels of healthy red blood cells are low your cells and body lacks the oxygen it needs to function properly and can cause you to feel fatigue.

Types of anemia and their possible treatments:

  1. Iron deficiency: Lack of iron in the blood; can be treated by taking iron supplements or adding foods high in iron to your diet like meats and spinach.
  2. Hemolytic: bone marrow is unable to replace red blood cells after they are destroyed; can be treated by a blood transfusion or medicine
  3. Hemorrhagic: blood loss due to bleeding; can be treated by stopping blood, IV, and possibly a blood transfusion
  4. Sickle Cell: blood cells become sickle shaped and rigid; can be do treatments to relieve pain
  5. Pernicious: a decrease in red blood cells when the body doesn't absorb enough B-12; can be treated by taking vitamin B-12 supplements

What is polycythemia? Causes? Treatments?

A type of blood cancer when your red bone marrow produces too many red blood cells or other types of blood cells. This cancer needs to be treated

Process of donating blood:

You will need to register and then get a mini physical, then they will proceed to withdraw the blood. They will typically take a pint of blood and it takes anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes. The nurses will then bandage your arm and send you on your way.

How often can it be done?

You must wait at least 8 weeks (56 days) between donations of whole blood and 16 weeks (112 days) between double red cell donations

How is it used?

After blood is donated it is send to the lab where it is separated into different components. The blood then is used to help people in need and given to them through transfusions. One donation can help up to three different people.

How long does blood last after donating?

Donated red blood cells can be stored for 42 days, platelets can be stored for 5 days, and frozen plasma can be stored for one year.

Leukocytes (White Blood Cells)

What are its characteristics?

  • they are able to engulf foreign material and ingest it (phagocytosis)
  • cells are drawn to and area by chemical release (chemotaxis)
  • they move through cells through vessels and tissues (diapedesis)
  • contain granulocytes or agranulocytes

What is the function of white blood cells?

White blood cells fight off pathogens like bacteria and diseases.

How does it help our body maintain homeostasis?

White blood cells fight off pathogens to keep our body healthy and protect it from diseases and bacteria so everything functions properly.

The five types of white blood cells:

Neutrophilis: (granulocyte)

  • highly phagocytic
  • segmented nucleus
  • most common
  • seen in acute bacterial infections

Eosinophilis: (granulocyte)

  • larger than neutrophil
  • bilobed nucleus
  • 2% of total
  • fights parasitic worms/ breaks down antibody complex

Basophils: (granulocyte)

  • rarrest (only .0004%)
  • bilobed nucleus
  • involved in inflammation
  • contains heparin

Lymphocyte: (agranulocyte)

  • second most numerous (31%)
  • round nucleus with very little cytoplasm
  • very long life and produce immunity
  • non-phagocytic, fight viruses

Monocyte: (agranulocyte)

  • called macrophages in the system
  • largest of all white blood cells
  • kidney shaped nucleus
  • highly phagocytic
  • seen in chronic infections


Leukopenia is a shortage of white blood cells. With leukopenia the bone marrow needs to be stimulated to create more white blood cells, to do this sometimes chemotherapy needs to be undergone. The patients sometimes can take vitamins with copper and zinc to make sure the body has what it needs to produce more healthy white blood cells.


Cancer of the blood cells which causes the body to not be able to fight off infectious diseases. To treat leukemia they will sometimes do chemotherapy, radiations, or a stem-cell transplant.


An infection transmitted by saliva. To treat this you need lots of rest and possibly ibuprofen or Tylenol.

Multiple myeloma:

Type of cancer of white blood cells. Treatments may vary but some examples are: therapy, chemotherapy, corticosteroids, stem-cell transplant, or radiation.

Thrombocytes (Platlets)

  • non living
  • pieces break off of parent cell
  • number is usually 200-500000 /mm^3

What is the function of platelets?

The function of platelets is to clot blood.

How do they help our body maintain homeostasis?

By clotting our blood it prevents us from losing too much blood.

Events that occur during homeostasis:

1. Vascular spasm

2. Platelet plug (temporary seal)

3. Coagulation


A disorder where blood does not clot normally. If you get a small cut it isn't that serious but internal bleeding can be deadly. To treat this disorder you may need to take certain medicine or get a vaccine. Otherwise some people do different therapies for it.

Coumadin or Warfarin:

An anticoagulant that reduces the formation of blood clots. It prevents heart attacks or strokes.


Heparin is an anticoagulant injected to treat and prevent blood clots in arteries, veins, or the lungs.


Aspirin is used to reduce suubstances that cause pain, fever, or inflammation. This should not be used in people with blood conditions or disorders.