Week 1 Assignment – Blood composition RES281

Learning Objectives Covered
LO 01.04 – Identify and discuss normal blood values: hemoglobin, hematocrit, platelets, and leukocytes

As previously stated, blood is made up of many components such as water, proteins, electrolytes and cells. Blood is the most important transport vehicle for gases, nutrients, and waste products in the body. Oxygen and nutrients are transported to the cells through blood and body fluids, waste products such as carbon dioxide are carried away from the cells.

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Whole blood is composed of plasma (the liquid component of blood) and formed elements. Formed elements such as red blood cells (erythrocytes), and platelets (thrombocytes). Blood also contains five different types of white blood cells (leukocytes see below), electrolytes and proteins all exist within the plasma of the blood.

Red blood cells (erythrocytes)

Red Blood cells (RBC) make up approximately 40% of the total volume of blood. The primary job of RBC’s is to transport oxygen and nutrients from the lungs to the rest of the body. The RBC’s also transport carbon dioxide from the body to the lungs to be exhaled. Red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow and a hormone produced by the kidneys called erythropoietin controls their production. According to the National Institute of Health, the normal range of red blood cells in men is approximately 4.7 to 6.1 million cells/microliter while the normal range of red blood cells in women is approximately 4.2 to 5.4 million cells/microliter.

Red blood cells contain a unique protein called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is composed of four protein chains. Each protein chain contains heme. The heme contains iron, a substance that allow oxygen to bind to hemoglobin for transport through the body.

Hematocrit is a test that is often completed as part of a complete blood count (CBC). This test indicates the proportion (percentage) of red blood cells of the total volume of blood. The hematocrit is a test that indicates abnormalities, conditions, and diseases that affect red blood cells such as anemia (low red blood cells or low hemoglobin) and polycythemia (high red blood cells or high hemoglobin). Abnormal results could greatly hinder oxygen transportation throughout the body.

White blood cells (leukocytes)

Leukocytes are part of the body’s immune system and they help defend the body against infection. Leukocytes are the largest of the blood cells. There are fewer white blood cells in the blood compared to other cells. The normal range of total white blood cells in the body is approximately 5,000 to 10,000 cells/microliter. There are five types of white blood cells each with different functions:


Platelets (thrombocytes)

Platelets are produced in the bone marrow, as are red blood cells. They make up the smallest fraction of the blood volume due to their tiny size. Platelets are small cell fragments that prevent bleeding. Platelets contain proteins that allow them to become sticky and change their shape to seal damaged blood vessels.


As mentioned, the four main components of blood is plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

For this assignment, you will provide detailed responses to the following questions.

Define and describe the function of each of the five types of white blood cells. Include in your answer the normal range and describe two conditions that would make them abnormal?
a. Neutrophils b. Lymphocytes c. Monocytes d. Eosinophils E. Basophils
Explain the significance of erythrocytes with normal ranges. Describe their composition.
Explain the significance of hematocrit. Why is the hematocrit important, and what are conditions that could make it abnormal?

Submit your answers in at least 500 words on a Word document. You must cite at least three references in IWG format to defend and support your position.

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