On a visit to the doctor for any illness, we will get examined first for our pulse, blood pressure, colour of the mucous membrane of the mouth (especially under the tongue), colour of conjunctiva of the eye (especially lower part) and colour of the nails. These are all done to analyse our blood and its flow.
The commonest blood related disorder/ailment/condition is anaemia. The clinical examinations stated above are done especially to rule out anaemia. It is better to learn more about blood, its components and its functions to understand anaemia in a better way. The study of blood is medically termed as Haemotology.
Is blood vital? – The quantity and quality of blood should always be maintained to have good health. If blood quantity and quality gets altered/lowered due to conditions/diseases, then any sort of diseases can arise due to weakened stamina and immune system. In case of extreme loss or low quality, life happens to end proving the vitality of blood. So, it is important to monitor blood regularly to ensure adequate red blood cells, haemoglobin levels, white blood cells, blood flow and blood pressure to maintain/preserve good health status. Alteration in blood volume, its contents, pressure changes, increased fat, urea, creatinine levels will always cause serious problems. Likewise, the toxins/chemicals/drugs entering the blood will reach the brain immediately or spread quickly all over the body to take effect/impact in their respective actions. So preserving blood in good condition is very vital for our body. Further, to support functions of blood, the blood vessels and pump (heart) should be in good condition to circulate them all over the body. Exercise is also essential to keep blood moving all the way.
Blood – We humans are mere flesh and blood on the frame of skeleton. Blood is the vital fluid which maintains/supports all the functions of the body. Blood functions as a self-regulating organ as well as a regulator of other organs too. Its physical and chemical composition mostly remains constant (i.e. haemostatic condition).
Red and blood always stand for horror/danger/caution. The 5 litres of red blood (supposed to be the average in a normal 65 kg adult) does many functions in our body in many ways. Blood is initially produced in the liver and spleen in the early foetal period. After the 5th month of pregnancy, bone (especially medulla from the distal end of long bone) marrow takes charge for lifetime to manufacture these blood cells in a continuous manner. After the growing period, production is limited only to flat bones i.e. blood gets manufactured in ribs, skull and vertebrae. Blood quantity and quality may vary according to age, sex and health status.
Blood flow – In our circulatory system, arteries are the major blood vessels which carry and distribute oxygenated blood throughout the body with its branches arterioles and capillaries. Capillaries are most permeable part for transportation of nutrients and oxygen from blood to tissues. These capillaries, after diversification, tend to unite again to form venules. These venules unite further to form smaller veins which again unite to form large veins. Veins are blood vessels which collect and carry deoxygenated blood towards the heart for recharging oxygen in the lungs.
Blood pressure – Normally, the flow is guided by heart systolic pump and its pressure. The return of blood to the heart is done with passive pump i.e. muscular pumps which compress veins with movements or exercises. The pressure of flow in major artery is 120 mg of Hg during systole which drops slowly with distribution i.e. with small arteries (70), arterioles (40), capillaries (30), venules (15) and veins (0-15). The measurement of blood pressure is a very simple technique, but it provides a lot of information about the heart, blood vessels and health status of the person. Blood pressure also usually varies according to age, sex, heart functions, density of the blood, etc. Blood pressure also gets altered with the requirement of oxygen for the body (exercise/exertion).
Blood groups – Basic blood groups are O, A, B and AB. Further there are Rh+ve & Rh-ve factors which split each group into two divisions. These groups have their uniqueness and cannot be exchanged for one another. There are many sub-groups also which need to be considered during blood transfusion to rule out complication arising out of the transfusion. Perfect match/compatibility should be sought with the cross-matching of blood from the donor or otherwise life will be always at risk on transfusion.
Functions of blood
As a transporter – It helps help mostly in all functions i.e. nourishing, respiration, excretion, protection, etc., as it
- Transports oxygen to the tissues
- Transports carbon monoxide to the lungs to get exhaled
- Transports nutrients/iron/vitamins/minerals to the tissues
- Transports hormones to the brain and concerned organs to coordinate functions
- Transports waste materials from tissue to the kidney to get eliminated
- Transports antibodies to the required spot to fight against disease
- Transports clotting factors to seal the injured bleeding spot (if there is any)
As a temperature regulator – Blood by circulation regulates our body temperature too.
Composition of blood – The suspension of blood consists mainly of cells and plasma i.e. 45 per cent cells and 55 per cent plasma. They consist of dissolved electrolytes, gases, plasma proteins and antibodies in plasma. Tissues add their secretions, hormones, enzymes, metabolites, wastes, acids and extracts nutrients, oxygen, vitamins and minerals, etc., from blood.
The major, three cell components in blood are:
- Red blood cells (RBCs) – are the very essential part of the blood which helps to carry oxygen, carbon monoxide and nutrients. They are circular, flattened biconcave discs containing globular iron protein i.e. haemoglobin. It is the colouring pigment (haem) which provides the characteristic red colour to the blood. Colour of blood will be bright red with oxygenated haemoglobin and dark red with deoxygenated haemoglobin and chocolate brown/red when it gets oxidised. Haemoglobin helps in exchanging or carrying oxygen from the lungs to tissues and carbon monoxide from tissues to lungs for exhalation. Haemoglobin approximately measures around 15 gms in 100 ml of blood and usually carries 20 cc of oxygen. Their life period is nearly 120 days. They are produced in the bone marrow in a continuous manner with adequate supply of iron, folic acid and vitamins and circulated in the blood. Since production is continuous, the expiring old ones are replaced with new blood cells without any change in quality. Size, shape and structure of RBCs may vary depending upon the age, person, diseases, conditions and environment. Red cells constitute 40-45 per cent of blood volume. It may get reduced to 15 per cent during the result of severe anaemia i.e. become watery blood. (Plasma constitutes 90 per cent water and 10 per cent solids).
- White blood cells (WBCs) – White blood cells are colourless cells found in the blood involved in protection and fighting against bacterial or viral or fungal infection. They produce antibodies to find specific antigen to trap and destroy/digest them (phagocytosis). They are short lived (3-5 days), less in number and bigger in size compared to RBCs. The size and number may vary diurnally, after exercise, meals, infections, etc. The pus formation in the infected part is nothing but these WBCs i.e., dead WBCs (the soldiers who lost their life against the infective agent/bacteria/virus/fungus).
Normal blood values (Averages)
- Haemoglobin (Hb)
- Male—13.5-17.0 Gms %
- Female–12.0-15.5 Gms %
- Male 4.5 to 6.0 million / cu. mm
- Women: 4.2 to 5.4 million / cu. mm.
- Ranges from 4,000 – 11,000/ cu. mm.
- Evaluating each type separately
- Neutrophils or polymorphs 50 – 60%
- Lymphocytes 30 – 50%
- Eosinophils 2 – 5%
- Monocytes 2 – 4%
- Basophils 0 – 1%
- Absolute Eosinophil Count – 40 – 440 cells / cu. mm.
- Male- 40- 50 %
- Female- 38- 45 %
Mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC) 32-36 %
Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) 76-96 Cu. mm
Reticulocyte count – 0.5 – 2.0%
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
- Male- <15mm in 1 hour
- Female – < 20 mm in 1 hour
- Bleeding time – 2 – 6 minutes
- Clotting time – 3 – 9 minutes
- Prothrombin time -12-16 sec’s
(pH- hydrogen ion concentration which helps in denoting acidity or alkalinity of the solution (variation from 1- 14 i.e. from most acid to most alkali)
- Serum Sodium – 135 -145mEq / L
- Serum Potassium – 3.5 – 5.5mEq / L
- Serum Chloride – 98 -106mEq / L
- Serum Bicarbonate – 22 -26mEq / L
- Serum Lithium – 0.2 -1.0mEq / L
- Fasting: 70 -110 Mg / dl
- Post prandial (i.e. after food -1 ¾ hours): 100 -140 Mg / dl
Serum cholesterol: 150 – 240 Mg / dl
Serum creatinine: 0.8 – 1.4 Mg / dl
Serum uric acid: 3.0 – 7.0 Mg / dl
Serum calcium: 8.5 – 11.0 Mg / dl
Serum phosphorus: 3.5 – 5.5 Mg / dl
Serum amylase- 25 – 90U/L
Serum copper-70 – 150 Mg / dl
Serum iron – Ferritin
- Male -60 -170 µg / L
- Female – 50 – 130 µg / L
- Serum albumin – 4.5 to 6g/100ml
- Serum globulin – 1.5 to 2.5g/100ml
- Fibrinogen – 0.2 to .4g/100ml
Red blood cells – Anaemia (lowered level), polycythemia (increased number of RBCs), sickle cell, spherocytosis
White blood cells – Neutropaenia and Leukemias (cancers – acute / chronic myeloid leukemia, acute/chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Hodgkins disease, etc.)
Platelets/clotting factors – Bleeding disorders like Thrombocytopaenia, Haemophilia, Von-Willebrand disease, etc., commonly arise with lowered platelets count/clotting factors/Vit K.
In many of the blood disorders/infections, Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) most often goes high due to rapid destruction of blood cells. (For example anaemia, bacterial/viral infection with fever, Leukemias, Haemophilia, etc.)
Homeopathic Medicines should be taken under the advice and diagnosis of a qualified Homeopath.
(Disclaimer: The contents of this column are for informational purpose only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional healthcare advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of healthcare professional for any health problem or medical condition.)