Your blood is made up of liquid and solids. The liquid part, called plasma, is made of water, salts, and protein. Over half of your blood is plasma. The solid part of your blood contains red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Red blood cells (RBC) deliver oxygen from your lungs to your tissues and organs. White blood cells (WBC) fight infection and are part of your immune system. Platelets help blood to clot when you have a cut or wound. Bone marrow, the spongy material inside your bones, makes new blood cells. Blood cells constantly die and your body makes new ones. Red blood cells live about 120 days, and platelets live about 6 days. Some white blood cells live less than a day, but others live much longer.
There are four blood types: A, B, AB, or O. Also, blood is either Rh-positive or Rh-negative. So if you have type A blood, it's either A positive or A negative. Which type you are is important if you need a blood transfusion. And your Rh factor could be important if you become pregnant - an incompatibility between your type and the baby's could create problems.
Blood tests such as blood count tests help doctors check for certain diseases and conditions. They also help check the function of your organs and show how well treatments are working. Problems with your blood may include bleeding disorders, excessive clotting and platelet disorders. If you lose too much blood, you may need a transfusion.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Calcium is a mineral that the body needs in order to maintain strong bones and to carry out other important functions, it is commonly found in many foods. Almost all of the calcium in our body is stored in bones and teeth, but the rest is found throughout the body in blood, muscle, and fluid between cells. The body needs calcium for muscles to move, for nerves to carry messages, for blood vessels to move blood throughout the body and to help release hormones and enzymes. When a person’s calcium is below the recommended level they might have low bone mass, increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. Insufficient intake of calcium can lead to feelings of numbness and tingling in the fingers, convulsions and abnormal heart rhythms that can lead to death if it is not corrected. Normal values range from 2.10 to 2.60 mmol/L, levels below 1.9 mmol/L of corrected calcium are considered too low and must be treated with medical attention. These values may differ based on whether the measurement is reflecting corrected calcium or not. Corrected calcium is a value obtained using a calculation that takes into account the concentration of albumin in the body because part of the calcium in the body is bound to albumin. Values may also differ due to differences in laboratories and the measurements they use, therefore it is always best to discuss your specific values with your doctor. References 1. Calcium. National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements. URL: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-Consumer/#h6. Accessed June 16, 2018. 2. Calcium Blood Test. MedlinePlus. URL: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003477.htm. Accessed June 16, 2018. 3. Cooper MS, Gittoes NJL. Diagnosis and management of hypocalcaemia. BMJ : British Medical Journal. 2008;336(7656):1298-1302. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2413335/. Accessed June 16, 2018.
Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia or low blood glucose, is when the level of glucose in the blood drops below the approximate level of 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). This level is only an approximate and it may be different for everyone, therefore it is best to check with a healthcare provider to determine what level is too low for you. When a person has low blood sugar they might experience symptoms that come on quickly, common symptoms include feeling shaky or jittery, sweaty, hungry, feeling confused or disoriented, being irritable or nervous and being pale among many others. Signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia may vary per person, therefore it is best to know which symptoms are specific to you in order to be able to detect when your blood sugar is too low. Having low blood sugar is dangerous and needs immediate attention. If a person begins to feel the symptoms of hypoglycemia then it is best to check their blood glucose right away and if it is too low then it is recommended they eat or drink 15 grams of carbohydrates right away. Examples of carbohydrates include four glucose tablets, half a cup of fruit juice or half a can of soda. References 1. Low Blood Glucose (Hypoglycemia). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. URL: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/low-blood-glucose-hypoglycemia. Accessed June 6, 2018
Blood pressure is a measure of the pressure that is created in the arteries by the blood the heart pumps around the body. High blood pressure is defined as a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher. High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” because it often has no warning signs or symptoms. Having high blood pressure can decrease the blood flow to the heart and cause chest pain, heart failure or a heart attack. Additionally, high blood pressure can cause the arteries supplying blood and oxygen to the brain to burst and cause a stroke. A stroke can cause serious disabilities in speech, movement and many other basic functions necessary for everyday life and activities. The kidneys can also be damaged from high blood pressure, people who have hypertension are at higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Because high blood pressure is a common and dangerous condition it is best to check it regularly. References 1. High Blood Pressure. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL: https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/index.htm. Accessed June 06, 2018
Blood pressure is the measurement of the force that is created against the walls of the arteries when the heart pumps blood through the body. High blood pressure or hypertension is classified as having a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or greater. Acute pain can increase a person’s blood pressure by increasing the sympathetic activity of the body. Many other factors can also affect blood pressure. For example, the amount of water and salt a person ingests, hormone levels and the condition of a person’s kidneys, nervous system or blood vessels. Certain people are at higher risk of experiencing high blood pressure, these include obese individuals, people who eat too much salt or drink too much alcohol and people with diabetes among others. References 1. High Blood Pressure. MedlinePlus. URL: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000468.htm Accessed June 5, 2018 2. Chawla PS, Kochar MS. Effect of pain and nonsteroidal analgesics on blood pressure. WMJ. 1999 Sep-Oct;98(6):22-5, 29. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10605351 Accessed June 5, 2018
In humans, as well as all mammals, the mature red blood cell does not contain a nucleus. The majority of space inside a red blood cell is used to store haemoglobin, which transports oxygen. However, non-mammalian vertebrates such as fish and birds have mature red blood cells that contain a nucleus. References 1. Dean, L. (2005). Blood groups and Red Cell Antigens. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-6510. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2261/pdf/Bookshelf_NBK2261.pdf Accessed May 28, 2018
Yes, blood pressure usually increases during exercise. When you exercise, your muscles require more oxygen to maintain physical activity. This demand for oxygen is supplied by more blood being pumped to your tissues. Heart rate and systolic blood pressure (the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats) rise to meet the demands of your tissues. The amount that your blood pressure increases due to exercise is affected by many variables including the intensity of the exercise and how fit you are. References 1. Measuring Blood Pressure. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL: https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/measure.htm. Accessed April 22, 2018.
Blood pressure (BP) is finely regulated by complex systems in the body which is normally able to compensate for changes in BP. Large meals may briefly increase BP due to an increased need for blood to be pumped to gastrointestinal system to digest the food - however, it should quickly normalize due to the compensatory mechanisms. Other types of meals may increase BP by other means such as consuming caffeine or even eating spicy or exciting foods which can cause your heart rate to increase and subsequently increase BP. References 1. Sparks MA, Crowley SD, Gurley SB, et al. Classical Renin-Angiotensin System in Kidney Physiology. Compr Physiol. 2014 Jul; 4(3): 1201-1228. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4137912/. Accessed April 22, 2018.
High blood sugar is considered any reading greater than 180. These high readings can over time cause issues with one’s kidneys, eyes, feet, and nervous system. Normal glucose can be maintained with diet, exercise, and any prescribed medications. References 1 Diabetes Complication. MedlinePlus. URL: https://medlineplus.gov/diabetescomplications.html. Accessed April 2, 2018. 2 Blood Sugar. MedlinePlus. URL: https://medlineplus.gov/bloodsugar.html. Accessed. April 2, 2018. 3 Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them to Manage Your Diabetes. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control. URL: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/diabetesatwork/pdfs/KnowYourBloodSugarNumbers.pdf. Accessed April 4, 2018.
High blood pressure is classified as any reading equal to or greater than 140/90. Either number can be high for one’s blood pressure to be classified as high. High blood pressure is usually asymptomatic. High blood pressure can cause stroke, heart failure, heart attack, and/or kidney failure. References 1. High Blood Pressure. MedlinePlus. URL: https://medlineplus.gov/highbloodpressure.html. Accessed April 2, 2018