In Blood – The Basics Part 1 we explained the basics of plasma and red blood cell production and function. In this article we continue with the basics on blood and its function.
White Blood Cells (Leukocytes)
White blood cells are white and bumpy in appearance and make up around 1% of total blood volume. White blood cells have different functions with the overall role of protecting the body from infection.
White Blood Cell Production and Types
There are several types of white blood cells. The most prevalent type is the neutrophil, which accounts for between 55 and 70% of the total white blood cells. Neutrophils are made in the bone marrow. As they only last a day, healthy bone marrow is required to constantly make new neutrophils to prevent infection. When there is a threat or infection, such as a virus, the bone marrow produces higher levels of neutrophils too fight the threat.
The second main type of white blood cells is the leukocyte. There are two main types of leukocytes, which work together; B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes. T lymphocytes help control the function of the other immune cells and attack infected cells and tumors, while B lymphocytes identify threats, such as bacteria and viruses and make specific antibodies to target those threats. Too few white blood cells will mean that the body is unable to fight threats successfully, increasing the risk of severe infection.
Platelets, unlike RBCs and WBCs are not cells, but fragments of cells which help blood to clot. Platelets collect at the site of an injury and stick to the lining of the damaged blood vessel to make a platform for the blood to coagulate (or clot). This clot will cover the wound and stop blood from seeping out of the vessel.
If you have too many platelets, your blood may clot too easily. This can lead to strokes, lung clots and heart attack. Too few platelets increases the risk of bleeding, which can cause hemorrhaging.
The bone marrow produces all blood cells from hematopoietic stem cells, which have the ability to turn into red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets. If your bone marrow is not functioning properly, or if your bone marrow has been damaged by chemotherapy for cancer, the number and quality of your blood cells will not be sufficient. This can lead to a range of symptoms and can, in many cases, prove fatal. Bone marrow transplant is often the only treatment for patients with failing bone marrow, taking healthy bone marrow and transplanting it in the place of the unhealthy marrow.
At Bone Marrow Treatment Mexico we have performed hundreds of successful bone marrow patients for conditions such as Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia and aplastic anemia. If you would like to know more about how a bone marrow transplant could save your life, or that of someone you love, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.