The Cardiovascular System

Holly Nyquist

Blood Characteristics

Blood Components (percentages)
  • Plasma: 55%
  • Erythrocytes: 45%
  • Leukocytes: less than 1%
  • Thrombocytes: less than 1%

How much blood is in our body?

  • males: 5-6 liters
  • females: 4-5 liters

Where is blood produced in the body?

  • red bone marrow

What controls the production of blood in the body?

  • the hormone erythropoietin controls the production of blood in the body because it stimulates the stem cells in the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells


What does it look like?
  • yellowish tint
  • fluid matrix of the blood; liquid

What are some characteristics?

  • helps to maintain blood flow
  • made up of 90% water
  • plasma proteins are produced by the liver and make up 7-9% of plasma
  • albumin: most common type of protein and is important for controlling blood volume

What is the function of plasma?

  • helps maintain blood flow

How does it help our body maintain homeostasis?

  • keeps cell contents in it and keeps foreign material out

Why are people paid to donate plasma? How does this process work?

  • plasma contains proteins which some people cannot make so they need to get transfusions
  • scientists separate the plasma from the blood to get the proteins needed for some other patients then, the scientists put the blood (without plasma) back into the person's body through a needle
How is the plasma separated from the rest of the blood?
  • scientists centrifuge the blood to separate the plasma from the rest of the blood
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Erythrocytes (Red Blood Cells)

What do they look like?
  • biconcave disk shape
  • red (in color)

What are some characteristics?

  • does not have a nucleus
  • filled with hemoglobin
  • produced in the red bone marrow
  • usually live 120 days
  • recycled in the spleen

What is the function of red blood cells?

  • carries carbon dioxide to the rest of the body
  • transport oxygen from the lungs to other cells in the body

How do red blood cells help our body maintain homeostasis?

  • helps maintain the proper carbon dioxide and oxygen levels throughout the body

Describe what a hematocrit test is and how it works:

  • measures the total blood volume made up by the red blood cells
  • scientists place blood in a hematocrit tube and then centrifuge it so the heavier formed elements will quickly settle to the bottom of the tube which forces the red blood cells to the bottom first

Describe the importance of hemoglobin in RBC's and what a hemoglobin test is:

  • hemoglobin carries oxygen
  • a hemoglobin test is used to determine how much hemoglobin is in the blood

What is anemia and describe 5 types of anemia (include possible treatments):

  • anemia is used to describe a number of different disease conditions caused by an inability of the blood to carry sufficient oxygen to the body cells
  • iron deficiency anemia: inadequate amounts of iron in the diet which results in the body not being able to manufacture enough hemoglobin; treatments: eating more iron in one's diet or taking an iron supplement
  • hemolytic anemia: abnormal breakdown of red blood cells in blood vessels or other parts of the body; treatments: corticosteroid medications, removal of the spleen, immunosuppressive drugs, or intravenous immune globulin infusions
  • hemorrhagic anemia: decrease in the number of RBCs caused by hemorrhage resulting from accidents or bleeding ulcers; treatments: medications, blood and marrow stem cell transplant, or surgery
  • sickle cell anemia: caused by an abnormal type of hemoglobin in the blood and RBCs contain a small amount of a type of hemoglobin that is less soluble than normal; treatment: medications
  • pernicious anemia: a deficiency in the production of red blood cells through a lack of vitamin B12; treatment: B12 injections, or blood tests to monitor blood replacements

What is polycythemia, what are some causes, and how could it be treated?

  • when bone marrow produces an excess amount of RBCs
  • this then can cause the blood to become too thick to flow properly which results in a stroke or heart attack
  • treatment: medications

Describe the process of donating blood.

  1. registration
  2. health history and mini-physical
  3. the donation: takes about 8-10 minutes and takes close to a pint of blood
  4. refreshments: donors have the chance to re-hydrate and build up their energy after the donation and they need to stay for at least 10-15 minutes after the donation

How often can it be done?

  • the donor must wait at least eight weeks

How is it used and how long does the blood last?

  • a patient in need of blood (due to blood loss from an accident, surgery, etc.) receives a blood transfusion from a donor
  • blood can last approximately 42 days
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Leukocytes (White Blood Cells)

What do they look like?
  • the Buffy coat in the centrifuged blood
  • all have a nucleus
  • larger than red blood cells
  • neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, lymphocytes, and monocytes

What are some characteristics?

  • produced in red bone marrow
  • function in the immune system
  • contain granulocytes or agranulocytes
  • phagocytosis: ability to engulf foreign material and digest it
  • chemotaxis: cells are drawn to an area by chemical release (histamine, bradykinin, etc)
  • diapedis: movement of cells through vessels and tissues

What is the function of white blood cells?

  • fight off pathogens (bacteria, viruses, diseases)

How do they help our body maintain homeostasis?

  • keep foreign viruses and bacteria out of the body to keep it healthy

Describe the five types of white blood cells:

  • neutrophils: makes up 60% of white blood cells, seen in acute bacterial infections, highly phagocytic, have a segmented nucleus (usually 3 lobes), and show up light purple on a slide
  • eosinophils: larger than neutrophils, bilobed nucleus, makes up 2% of total white blood cells, fights parasitic infections, breaks down antibody complex, and stains red/orange
  • basophils: rarest cells of all (only .0004%), bilobed nucleus, stains dark blue/purple, involved in inflammation (histamine, bradykinin), and contains heparin (anticoagulant)
  • lymphocytes: second most numerous (31%), round nucleus with very little cytoplasm, lives a very long life, produces immunity, non-phagocytic, and fights viruses
  • monocytes: also called macrophages, largest of all white blood cells, kidney shaped nucleus, highly phagocytic, and seen in chronic infections

Describe the following conditions related to white blood cells and common treatments for each:

  • Leukopenia: abnormally low white blood cell count; treatment: vitamin supplements, or sometimes bone marrow treatments to allow the healthy white blood cells to be made
  • Leukemia: describes the number of blood cancers affecting the white blood cells; treatment: chemotherapy, or hematopoietic cell transplantation
  • Mononucleosis: abnormally high amounts of monocytes are in the blood; treatment: rest, corticosteroids to prevent swelling
  • Multiple myeloma: blood cancer that develops in the bone marrow and is a cancer of the plasma cells; treatment: chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant

Thrombocytes (platelets)

What do they look like?
  • small, dot like shapes in the blood that helps clotting

What are some characteristics?

  • produced in bone marrow
  • responsible for initiating a clot (platelet plug)

What is the function of platelets and how do they help our body maintain homeostasis?

  • helps with the stoppage of blood (clotting)
  • when one gets a cut or injury that causes bleeding, the platelets help stop the bleeding so the body does not lose as much blood.

Describe the events that occur during homeostasis:

  1. vascular spasm
  2. platelet plug (temporary seal)-fibrinogen
  3. clotting cascade also called coagulation

Describe what hemophilia is and how it is treated:

  • the reduction of the body's ability to clot blood
  • the body will keep bleeding if a cut or severe injury were to occur, which could be life threatening
  • treatments: replacement therapy (clotting factors are slowly dripped into a vein, which helps replace the clotting factor that is missing or below average)
Differentiate between the following blood thinners and what they are used to treat:
  • coumadin or warfarin: used to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots
  • heparin: prevents the formation of blood clots or is used before surgery to decrease the chance of a blood clot
  • aspirin: reduces substances in the body to prevent pain, fever, or inflammation and sometimes even chest pain, heart attack, or stroke
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