The Role of Blood in the Body

Collection of blood samples | nova vitacare | Texas

Published by Claudia Giunta

Blood Basics

Blood is an essential life-maintaining fluid that circulates throughout our entire body. It has four main components: plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Every blood cell begins life as a stem cell that eventually matures into one of the above-mentioned components. Each cell in our body has a limited lifespan and has to be replaced constantly.

Nova Vita Solutions

The lab panels offered at Nova Vita Wellness Centers help us deliver personalized wellness solutions tailored to your specific needs. The baseline lab examines how well your kidney is functioning, the balance of fluids and electrolytes in your body, blood sugar levels, and your
metabolism. A Complete Metabolic Panel (CMP) measures 14 different substances in your blood, including your glucose level, electrolyte and fluid balance, kidney function, and liver function. A CMP provides important information about your body’s chemical balance and metabolism. We can also do a complete blood count (CBC) that counts white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, the concentration of hemoglobin, and the hematocrit. The test is important to evaluate your overall health and detect a wide range of disorders, including anemia, infection, and leukemia. After the blood work is complete, you’ll receive your results in 2 business days and our team will work with you on interpreting your results and assessing your next steps. Contact us today to learn more about how our labs can help you assess your health and achieve your wellness goals.

Blood Functions

Blood has many different functions, including:
● Transporting oxygen and nutrients to the lungs and tissues.
● Forming blood clots to prevent excess blood loss.
● Regulating body temperature.
● Carrying cells and antibodies that fight infection.
● Transporting waste products to the kidneys and liver, which filter and clean the blood to ensure easy passage for specific cells to get to where they need to go.

Adults have an average of 65-70 milliliters of blood for every kilogram of body weight. This means about 7% of a person’s total weight is in blood, with the average person having about 4.5 to 5.5 liters of blood within their body. This estimate will vary from person to person depending on weight, sex if the person is pregnant, where they live, and other factors. Blood volume typically decreases as people age, and males tend to have a slightly higher blood volume than females.

How Do Blood Cells Develop?

Blood cells develop from stem cells and are formed in the bone marrow through hematopoiesis. When a stem cell divides, it becomes an immature red blood cell, white blood cell, or platelet-producing cell. The immature cell then divides, matures, and becomes a mature red blood cell, white blood cell, or platelet.

The rate of blood cell production is based on the body’s needs. White blood cells will last for a few hours to a few days, platelets last for about ten days, and red blood cells last approximately 120 days. All blood cells must be replaced constantly.
Stem cells from all three of these blood sources can treat a variety of diseases, including leukemia, lymphoma, bone marrow failure, and various immune disorders.

Understanding Blood Components

The following is a breakdown of the different components and types of blood cells.


Plasma is the liquid component of blood, a mixture of water, sugar, fat, protein, and salts. The main job of plasma is to transport blood cells throughout the body as well as nutrients, waste, antibodies, clotting proteins, hormones, and proteins that help maintain the body’s fluid balance.

Plasma is a crucial part of treatment for many serious health concerns, which is why blood plasma donations are encouraged. Plasma’s antibodies, clotting factors, and the proteins albumin and fibrinogen help maintain serum osmotic pressure. Each of these components can be separated from plasma and concentrated into various products. These products can then be used as treatments that can potentially save people’s lives.

Red Blood Cells

Red blood cells, also known as erythrocytes and known for their bright red color, are the most abundant cells in the body, accounting for about 40-45% of its volume. Erythropoietin, a hormone produced primarily by the kidneys, controls red blood cell production.
Red blood cells start as immature cells in the bone marrow and are released into the bloodstream after seven days of maturing.

Red blood cells don’t have a nucleus so they can easily change shape and fit through blood vessels, but they also have a limited lifespan of 120 days. Hemoglobin, a special protein within red blood cells, helps carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and then returns carbon dioxide to the lungs. Red blood cells get their color from hemoglobin.

White Blood Cells

Also known as leukocytes, white blood cells protect the body from infection. White blood cells only account for about 1% of the human body’s blood. 55-70% of the total white blood cell count consists of neutrophils, the “immediate response” cell. Neutrophils live less than a day, and your bone marrow constantly makes new neutrophils to have enough to fight against infection.

Lymphocytes are another major type of white blood cell and have two types: T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes. T lymphocytes help regulate the function of immune cells and attack any infected cells or tumors. B lymphocytes produce antibodies that target bacteria, viruses, and
other foreign invaders.


Platelets, also called thrombocytes, are small fragments of cells that help the blood clotting process (called coagulation) by gathering at the site of an injury, sticking to the lining of the injured blood vessel, and forming a platform for coagulation to occur. This process helps produce
a fibrin clot that covers the wound with scaffolding, prevents blood from escaping, and promotes new tissue growth. Having low levels of platelets can lead to excessive bleeding. Having higher than normal amounts of platelets can cause unnecessary clotting, leading to strokes and heart attacks.

Antiplatelet therapies help prevent this from happening. Platelets can play an important role in cancer treatments, organ transplants, surgery, and platelet dysfunctions. Platelets can be extracted from a whole blood donation using a centrifuge or can be collected using an automated process. Platelets must be used within five days of donation, so there is a consistent need for platelet donors.

What are Blood Vessels?

Blood vessels are the network of tubes that pump blood throughout the body. Blood, blood vessels, and the heart make up the cardiovascular system. The three main types of blood vessels are:
Arteries: carry blood pumped away from the heart to the organs.
Veins: return blood from the organs to the heart.
Capillaries: tiny vessels that connect arteries and veins; allow blood to come closely in contact with body tissues to exchange oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients, and waste products.

Blood leaves the heart from large arteries and moves through small blood vessels to reach the capillaries in the tissues. Oxygen and nutrients move through capillary walls into the body tissues, and waste products pass into the capillaries. The blood then leaves the capillaries and moves into veins, going towards the heart. Once at the heart, the blood needs oxygen. The blood enters the right side of the heart and is pumped to the lungs, where carbon dioxide is replaced with oxygen.

Common Blood Diseases

Your blood and blood vessels can be affected by physical injury or infection. The following are some examples of blood issues:

Blood disorders: the blood cell count is either too high or too low and can lead to disorders such as neutropenia, anemia, or leukopenia.
Clotting disorders: the blood doesn’t properly clot, leading to hemorrhage (bleeding) or when the blood clots too much, causing thrombosis.
Certain cancers: affect blood cells, such as leukemia.
Bloodstream infection: when bacteria enter the bloodstream.
Hemochromatosis: an inherited disorder that leads to too much iron in the blood.
High blood pressure: (also called hypertension) affects the body’s arteries and kidneys, and the heart has to work harder to pump blood.
Sickle Cell Disease: where the shape of the red blood cells affects how well they flow in the vessels, leading to issues in organs, joints, and bones.

If you have any concerns or questions about your blood or blood vessels, contact your doctor immediately.

The Bottom Line

Blood is a living fluid that the heart pumps through a vast network of arteries and veins. It transports oxygen and other essential substances throughout the body, fights sickness, and performs other vital functions. If you are curious about your complete blood count, concerned about blood disorders, or want a better understanding of your health needs, contact Nova Vita and schedule a lab panel or infusion. We’re here to help!


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