What Is Whole Blood
Whole blood is a term used to refer to the blood obtained from a human through a process of blood donation.
The blood is a very important component of the human body. It facilitates and provides the medium for a majority of processes in the human body such as removal of waste from the cells, delivery of nutrients and transportation of oxygen throughout the body.
Lack or loss of blood in significant quantities is very dangerous and can result in problems such as a blood pressure drop, disorientation, fainting, and in worst cases, exsanguination which is death due to excessive blood loss.
Today, blood transfusion has made it possible to reduce blood loss relatively safe and effective leading to countless of lives saved.
Technological capability to process the donation of whole blood along with other progresses in medicine have played a big part in solving a huge problem.
It has allowed pregnant women, accident victims and other persons who may need blood to have them available as necessary.
Facts About Whole Blood
Below are 10 facts you should know about whole blood:
1. Composed of several blood components
Whole blood is actually made up of a number of different components.
Plasma forms the largest portion at around 55%, then red blood cells which gives blood its red color taking about 45% along with white blood cells, and platelets making up less than 1%.
2. Blood component therapy
Whole blood is usually used as a source of blood components enabling the same whole blood to serve multiple people, something referred to as blood component therapy in the medical industry.
3. There are four major blood group
Whole blood can be grouped into four types A, B, AB, and O.
Those in the blood group O category are generally regarded as universal donors; i.e. the blood can be transfused to any patient whereas those with the blood group AB are regarded as universal recipients.
4. Whole blood storage
Whole blood can be stored for 21 to 35 days when refrigerated, depending on the type of anti-coagulant used.
In addition, the shelf life of each blood component also varies.
5. Not all can donate whole blood
Not everyone can donate blood due to a variety of reasons which make them illegible.
These includes feeling unwell, being under medication or having certain medical conditions such as haemophilia.
You also need to be at least 16-17 years old, weigh more than 50 kilograms and generally in good health.
6. Influence on body weight
Whole blood makes up about 7% of an average human’s body weight.
7. The plasma is mostly water
Plasma which makes up 55% of the blood volume is actually 90% water.
8. Blood cells
Blood components i.e. the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are all made in the bone marrow.
A healthy bone marrow is therefore a big contributor to a stable supply of blood in the body.
9. Medical usage
More than 95% of usage is identified with surgical procedures and treatment course for anemia, Sickle cell, childbirth complications and transplants.
The remaining 5% is used for other purposes such as research. It may sometimes end up discarded for a particular reason.
There is currently no substitute for human blood.
10. Natural production
The average human body naturally replaces the red blood cells less than four weeks after making a donation.
However, it takes much longer to replace the iron lost from the donation.
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