How red blood cells workPosted on 2013-05-20 01:58:37
Techniques that enhance the number of red blood cells are one of the most common methods of doping in professional sports. Red cells are a major component of blood, and are primarily responsible for transportation of oxygen throughout the body. Red blood cells mainly have a protein called haemoglobin, which is manufactured from iron. The color of blood comes from this haemoglobin. The haemoglobin is able to absorb oxygen in the lungs, and then release this oxygen to the various parts of the body. Red blood cells also have proteins on their surface that determine the blood group of the individual. Depending on the type of protein (or specifically antigen) that is found on the red blood cells, blood group is said to be group A, B, AB or O (for blood group O, none of the other two antigens are present). Production of red blood cells Red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow, with the average development taking one week. The red blood cells are then released into the blood stream where they begin their oxygen-carrying function. A full cycle of a red blood cell takes approximately 20 seconds, say from lungs to the rest of the body and back to the lungs again. Red blood cells survive up to 120 days in the blood stream before they are replace by the newly produced cells from the bone marrow. The aging cells are removed from circulation by the spleen, liver and the bone marrow. The eventual by-products of the breakdown of red cells are iron, which is re-circulated for use, and bilirubin, which is transported to the liver. Red blood cell disorders Disorders of production – red blood cell disorders affecting the production include overproduction, underproduction or production of abnormal red blood cells.
- Overproduction – polycythemia is a condition where excessive red cells are produced mainly due to a problem in the bone marrow. This makes the blood thicker, which slows down the movement of red blood cells hence transportation of oxygen.
- Underproduction – red cell aplasia and aplastic anemia are conditions affecting the bone marrow where red blood cells are not produced. Red cell aplasia affects only the production of red blood cells while aplastic anaemia affects production of all cells by the bone marrow including white blood cells and platelets.
- Abnormal red blood cells – there are various conditions whereby the red cells are abnormal which may affect the shape, oxygen-carrying capacity and reduce the lifespan.
Dear Linda, Thanks for your question. Fungal infections can indeed be very difficult to eliminate and more often require months of consistent treatment to eliminate. The medication you have used is effective for treating candidiasis, but in the case of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis, the same medication is given for longer…over 3 years ago By:Dr ROSE MUTHONI KIURA
Dear Brian, Thank you for your question. Diabetes is known to affect various organs in the body including the nerves and blood vessels. When the disease affects the erectile tissue it can lead to erectile dysfunction. This makes it difficult for the man to have or sustain an erection. Other…over 3 years ago By:Dr AGNETA MUTINDA MBITHI
Dear Jane, Thanks for your question. The change in appetite is often related to changes in the hormones that control metabolism. As you mention, it is crucial to rule these imbalances as the possible cause of the increased appetite and to do so you need to visit your doctor for…over 4 years ago By:Dr ROSE MUTHONI KIURA
Dear Mercy, Thanks for your question. Weight gain is always a concern, and the approach to weight loss remains the same; ensure that you are using up more calories than you are taking in. To reduce the calories taken in: Eat less of refined foods; Eat food that is in…over 4 years ago By:Dr ROSE MUTHONI KIURA