Blood consists of both plasma and the formed elements found within the plasma. This latter is made up of three different elements: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Each of these
substances provide our bodies with the support we need to survive both
internally and externally.
Plasma is the pale yellow liquid that your red blood cells are suspended
in. Plasma contains 90% water and a rich mix of over 500 proteins,
carrying glucose, clotting factors and antibodies.
Blood Plasma And Homestasis
Blood plasma itself also plays a
critical role in homeostasis. While platelets, red and white blood cells
are often praised for being the most critical parts of the human blood,
plasma too plays an important role that should not be passed over.
Indeed plasma too plays a role in maintaining homeostasis. For one,
plasma is responsible for transporting gases like oxygen, carbon
dioxide, and nitrogen; nutrients like glucose and amino acids, hormones;
proteins; lipids; ions such as sodium, chloride, and calcium; and
various waste products (Chiras, 2005).
Plasma Contains Proteins
As if such an important role as
transportation weren't enough, blood plasma also contains proteins that
serve very specific and important roles as "carriers" for hormones,
ions, and fatty acids. These carrier proteins protect smaller molecules
from destruction by the liver as well as facilitate transport for other
molecules through the bloodstream. Fibrinogen, another type of blood
protein aids in blood clotting, another critical homeostasis function
It Regulates Osmotic Pressure
Another important function of plasma protein is
the regulation of osmotic pressure. This regulation allows for the
distribution of materials, including waste and nutrients, throughout the
body. Additionally, these same blood proteins aid in the regulation of
blood pH, a critical function in maintaining blood homeostasis.
The Makeup of Blood
Plasma, which makes up around 55 percent
of human blood, is the liquid portion of our blood. 90 percent of blood
plasma is water. The red blood cells within the plasma make up around 45
percent of the blood, while white blood cells make up a meager 1
Amazingly enough, blood volume (i.e. the amount of red blood
cells, white blood cells, and platelets) vary according to place of
residence. David Chiras, author of Human Biology's 5th
Edition textbook notes that the blood volume (also known as hematocrit)
of "people living in Denver, a mile above sea level...are typically
about 5% higher than in people living at sea level" (2005).
in hematocrit is a result of our body's homeostatic abilities. Because
those living above sea level require more oxygen, the blood composition
varies, by increasing oxygen transporting red blood cells, in order to
compensate for this need.
Plasma Plays a Vital Role in Bodily Function
There is more to blood than the red substance that comes out of our
bodies when we're injured. In fact, blood is a highly complex part of
existence. Within that simple red liquid lies several very important
substances like plasma.
Clearly blood plasma, which not only carries the platelets, red blood
cells, and white blood cells, but also aids in maintaining homeostasis,
plays a critical role in the human body. Although red blood cells, white
blood cells, and platelets get a lot of attention for their critical
roles in the body and the way we think of blood, plasma is a part of the
blood that acts as the transportation, pH and osmosis regulator, and