Changes to Blood Components and Composition

Changes to Blood Components and Composition

Understanding the changes to blood components and composition is a key part of Biomedical Science. It involves comprehending how blood components and composition can change due to various factors, what these changes mean, and their implications for health.

Changes in Red Blood Cells (Erythrocytes)

  • A reduction in the number of red blood cells or amount of haemoglobin leads to anaemia.
  • Anaemia can result in fatigue and pallor due to inadequate oxygen supply to the body’s tissues.
  • High altitude or severe physical training can increase the amount of red blood cells, a condition known as polycythaemia.
  • Polycythaemia can increase the risk of blood clots because it makes the blood thicker.

Changes in White Blood Cells (Leukocytes)

  • An abnormal increase in the number of white blood cells is a condition called leukocytosis.
  • Leukocytosis often indicates infection, inflammation, or certain types of leukaemia.
  • On the other hand, a reduction in white blood cells, or leukopenia, can leave the body more susceptible to infections.

Changes in Plasma

  • Dehydration or blood loss can lead to a decrease in plasma volume, thus increasing the concentration of blood cells and other substances in the blood.
  • Overhydration or kidney conditions can cause an increase in plasma volume, diluting the concentration of blood cells and other substances.
  • Plasma protein levels can increase or decrease due to malnutrition, liver disease, or certain types of cancer.

Changes in Platelets (Thrombocytes)

  • A decrease in the number of platelets leads to a condition called thrombocytopenia.
  • Thrombocytopenia can result in excessive bleeding and bruising as blood clots are not formed efficiently.
  • Conversely, an increase in platelets, or thrombocytosis, can make the blood more prone to clotting, which can be dangerous as it may block blood vessels.

Understanding these changes can give insights into various physiological conditions, pathologies and their treatments.