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Whole blood is a specialized fluid connective tissue that circulates throughout the body, composed of various types of cells and extracellular matrix. It plays a crucial role in transporting oxygen, nutrients, and other essential substances to the body’s tissues and organs and removing waste products from them. The following is a description of the composition, physical characteristics, and functions of whole blood.

Composition:

Whole blood is composed of plasma, red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes), and platelets (thrombocytes). Plasma makes up about 55% of whole blood and consists of water, electrolytes, proteins, hormones, and waste products. Red blood cells make up about 45% of whole blood and are responsible for carrying oxygen to the body’s tissues. White blood cells and platelets make up less than 1% of whole blood and play a crucial role in the body’s immune response and blood clotting, respectively.

Physical Characteristics:

Whole blood is a viscous, opaque fluid that appears bright red when oxygenated and dark red when deoxygenated. It has a pH between 7.35 and 7.45 and a temperature of approximately 100.4°F (38°C). Its density is slightly higher than water, and it has a specific gravity of around 1.05.

Functions:

Whole blood performs various functions in the body, including:

Transporting oxygen and nutrients: Red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients from the lungs and digestive system to the body’s tissues.

Removing waste products: Red blood cells also remove waste products, such as carbon dioxide and urea, from the body’s tissues and transport them to the lungs and kidneys for elimination.

Fighting infections: White blood cells play a crucial role in the body’s immune response by identifying and attacking foreign substances, such as viruses and bacteria.

Blood clotting: Platelets are responsible for forming blood clots to stop bleeding when blood vessels are damaged.

Connective Tissue Classification:

Whole blood is classified as a connective tissue because it is composed of cells and extracellular matrix. The extracellular matrix in blood is plasma, which contains proteins, electrolytes, and other substances that provide structural support and facilitate cell-cell communication. The cells in blood are suspended in the plasma and are not tightly packed, which is a characteristic of other types of connective tissues.

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