Blood

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The average adult has about five liters of blood living inside of their body, coursing through their vessels, delivering essential elements, and removing harmful wastes. Without blood, the human body would stop working.

Blood is the fluid of life, transporting oxygen from the lungs to body tissue and carbon dioxide from body tissue to the lungs. Blood is the fluid of growth, transporting nourishment from digestion and hormones from glands throughout the body. Blood is the fluid of health, transporting disease fighting substances to the tissue and waste to the kidneys.

various blood cells

Because it contains living cells, blood is alive. Red blood cells and white blood cells are responsible for nourishing and cleansing the body. Since the cells are alive, they too need nourishment.

Vitamins and Minerals keep the blood healthy. The blood cells have a definite life cycle, just as all living organisms do. Approximately 55 percent of blood is plasma, a straw-colored clear liquid. The liquid plasma carries the solid cells and the platelets which help blood clot. Without blood platelets, you would bleed to death.

When the human body loses a little bit of blood through a minor wound, the platelets cause the blood to clot so that the bleeding stops. Because new blood is always being made inside of your bones, the body can replace the lost blood. When the human body loses a lot of blood through a major wound, that blood has to be replaced through a blood transfusion from other people.

But everybody's blood is not the same. There are four different blood types. Plus, your blood has Rh factors which make it even more unique. Blood received through a transfusion must match your own. Patients who are scheduled to have major surgery make autologous blood donations (donations of their own blood) so that they have a perfect match.

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You are viewing a page in The Franklin Institute's online exploration of the human heart. It is one of many Resources for Science Learning which inspire scientific curiosity.

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