Mechanisms and Function of Blood

Blood is a fluid in the body that carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells and also takes away metabolic wastes away from those same cells.

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There are three types of blood cells:

RED BLOOD CELLS: Blood is red in colour primary because red blood cells are the most common of blood cells. Red blood cells primarily carry oxygen to every part of the body and collect carbon dioxide through the use of haemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen).
WHITE BLOOD CELLS: White blood cells are the defenders of the body against infectious diseases.
PLATELETS: Platelets circulate in the blood and are involved in the formation of blood clots.

Anaemia

Anaemia is the most common disorder of the blood, and is caused by the lack of red blood cells or the decreased amount of haemoglobin. This does not necessarily mean that there is not enough blood in the body; it means that the body is not making enough red blood cells or haemoglobin to circulate oxygen around the organs. Common symptoms of anaemia include fatigue, dizziness, heart palpitations, light-headedness and headaches. Usually, minor anaemia can be overcome by taking iron supplements and Vitamins C and B12.

Mechanism of anaemia

As mentioned, haemoglobin carries oxygen to the cells in the body and its main components are protein and iron. Iron is very important among these, and about two-thirds of the the body has haemoglobin. Iron that is ingested with food is accumulated in the liver and delivered to the blood.

For this reason, if the iron in haemoglobin is in short supply, then the amount of oxygen will also be insufficient. This causes the heart to pumpfaster in an attempt to restore oxygen supply, resulting in palpitations, shortness of breath and possibly dizziness, light-headedness, headache, and fatigue.

Care

Diet: a nutrionally-balanced diet and regular meals (no skipping of breakfast!) is crucial. If you are anaemic, eat food that contains iron and also supplement with Vitamins C and B12.

Food with iron that is easily absorbed include pig liver, fish, egg yolk, in spinach, shellfish, grains, and seaweed. Parsley, brocolli and brussel sprouts are vegetables that contain an abundance of Vitamin C.

Foods such as soy, spinach, meat, fish and cheese are rich in Vitamin B6 and B12, essential for the generation of haemoglobin.

Avoid drinking excess tea and coffee because they worsen the absorption of iron.

Iron deficiency anaemia

Other causes of anaemia includes bleeding – through menstruation, pregnancy, and stomach and duodenum ulcers. In addition, if you suffer from stomach acid deficiency, your body cannot absorb enough iron even if you have an iron-rich diet.

Medication

An iron-rich diet alone may not be able to replensih iron in the blood, so taking of iron supplements may be necessary for some people. As always, if symptoms persist even after the appropriate diet and supplements, do consult your doctor.