Blood is your body’s transport system. It flows through your entire body, delivering oxygen and nutrients and disposing of waste. But blood does a lot more, it ensures that your body temperature remains stable, it forms a crust when you cut yourself and it can neutralise harmful substances and pathogens.
But which parts of the blood actually perform these important tasks? Your blood consists of 55% plasma and 45% blood cells. Plasma is composed mostly of water (93%), while 7% of it is made up of proteins (such as albumin, antibodies, blood-clotting proteins), sugars, salt, fats, vitamins, and hormones. The blood cells are for the most part red blood cells (99%), while the rest is made up of white blood cells and platelets.
If part of your blood does not work properly, it may be cause for a problem. For example, if your red blood cells cannot properly bind oxygen, if the coagulation properties of your platelets are insufficient or if your white blood cells don’t put up a proper defence.
If you have HIV, certain white blood cells in your blood are affected. These white blood cells, the T cells, are very important to ensure your immune system works properly.
Sickle cell disease
If you suffer from sickle cell disease, the hemoglobin in your red blood cells is structured differently. Hemoglobin plays an important role in carrying oxygen throughout your body.