Blood Facts

  • There is no substitute for human Blood.
  • Blood makes up about 7% of your body's weight.
  • An average adult has about 14 to 18 pints of Blood.
  • One standard unit or pint of Blood equals about two cups.
  • Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to all of the body.
  • Blood carries carbon dioxide and other waste products back to the lungs, kidneys and liver for disposal.
  • Blood fights against infection and helps heal wounds.
  • One unit of donated whole Blood is separated into components before use (red Blood cells, white Blood cells, plasma, platelets, etc.)
  • There are four main Blood types: A, B, AB and O.
  • Each Blood type is either Rh positive or negative.
  • The three main types of cells making up our Blood are the White Blood cells, Red Blood cells and Platelets:
    • White Blood Cells (WBCs) are the largest of the three types of cells and are responsible for fighting infections or germs. White Blood cells have a rather short life cycle, living from a few days to a few weeks. One drop of Blood can contain from 7,000 to 25,000 white Blood cells. If an invading infection fights back and persists, that number will significantly increase.
    • Red Blood Cells (RBCs) make up approximately 40% of Blood volume, carry oxygen to the cells of your body and return to the lungs to excrete carbon dioxide.
    • Platelets, the smallest of the Blood cells; make up 5% to 7% of total Blood volume. Platelets form a 'mesh' net to form clots in the Blood to help stop bleeding. s
  • There are five types of White Blood Cells (WBCs):
    • basophil - acts on smooth muscle and Blood cell walls;
    • eosiniphil- acts against infestations of parasitic larvae;
    • lymphocyte - recognizes surface markers on cells and targets them for destruction if foreign to the body;
    • monocyte - formed bone marrow, monocytes migrate into connective tissue and become macrophages; and,
    • neutrophil - the first line of defense, 100 billion mature neutrophils are released into the body everyday.
  • There are about one billion red Blood cells in a few drops of whole Blood.
  • Red Blood cells live about 120 days in our bodies.
  • Red Blood cells can be stored under normal conditions for up to 42 days.
  • Frozen red Blood cells can be stored for ten years, and more.
  • Platelets must be used within five days.
  • Platelets are small Blood cells that assist in the process of Blood clotting helping those with leukemia and other cancers, controlling bleeding.
  • Plasma, the fourth major component of Blood, is a sticky, pale yellow fluid mixture of water, protein and salts. It is 95% water. The other 5% is made up of nutrients, proteins and hormones.
  • Blood Plasma constitutes 55% of the volume of human Blood.
  • Plasma helps maintain Blood pressure, carries Blood cells, nutrients, enzymes and hormones, and supplies critical proteins for Blood clotting and immunity.
  • Plasma can be collected from a normal healthy donor twice weekly (max. every 48 hours) and is the most frequently donor paid-for component of Blood. Plasma is often referred to as "the college students beer money."
  • Type AB plasma has been considered as the universal Blood plasma type, and therefore AB plasma is given to patients with any Blood type.
  • Frozen Plasma can be stored for up to one year.
  • Human Blood; red Blood cells, white Blood cells, plasma and platelets are made naturally by the body in the bone marrow.