Phlebotomist: Blood Composition

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Posted on 20th May 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

Blood is five times thicker than water and contains a mixture of fluid and cells.  Slightly salty and alkaline, blood has a pH of about 7.4 making is neutral.  In the body, the portion of blood that is liquid is called plasma.  The portion of the blood that makes up the cellular components is called the formed elements.  On average, an adult is approximately 55% plasma and 45% formed elements.  As a phlebotomist, blood composition is pertinent to understand.

Blood plasma is normally a clear, pale yellow fluid that is made up primarily of water.  Only 10 percent of blood plasma is made of other dissolved substances such as gases like oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen.  Other dissolved substances in blood include minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.  Sodium is important for maintaining the proper fluid balance, pH, calcium and potassium levels necessary for the heart to work properly.  Potassium helps to maintain normal muscle activity and helps to conduct nerve impulses.  Calcium is used by the body to form bones and teeth.  It is also an important mineral for nerve conduction, and muscle contraction.  Calcium is also important in the blood clotting process.

Plasma also contains nutrients that help to supply the body with energy that is needed to function.  There are important nutrients like carbohydrates and lipids in blood plasma.  Protein is also found in blood plasma and is used to regulate osmotic pressure.  Other proteins, like antibodies are important in fighting against infection and fibrinogen is used in the clotting process.

Waste products are often found in plasma also.  Urea, creatinine an uric acid are all waste products of metabolism that are commonly found in plasma.

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