Blood Functions

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Chapter: Anatomy and Physiology for Health Professionals: Blood

Various components of the blood function are distribution, regulation, and protection. These functions are further described as follows:


Blood Functions

Various components of the blood function are distri-bution, regulation, and protection. These functions are further described as follows:

■■ Distribution: Delivery of oxygen from the lungs,delivery of nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract to all cells in the body, transport of hormones from endocrine organs to target organs, and transport of metabolic waste products from cells to various elimination sites; these include the kidneys, for disposal of nitrogenous wastes in the urine, and the lungs, for the elimination of carbon dioxide.

■■ Regulation: Maintenance of proper fluid volume in the circulatory system; proteins in the blood prevent excessive fluid loss from the bloodstream into tissue spaces; therefore, fluid volume remains in the blood vessels, supporting efficient blood circulation throughout the body; maintenance of body temperature by absorption and distribution of body heat, as well as to the skin surfaces for heat loss; maintenance of normal pH in body tissues, with proteins and other bloodborne solutes becoming buffers, preventing serious changes inblood pH; the blood is also a reservoir for bicar-bonate ions, which are the body’s alkaline reserve.

Protection: Prevention of infection, via the actionsof antibodies, complement proteins, and WBCs; this protects the body against bacteria, viruses, and other foreign agents; prevention of blood loss via the actions of platelets and plasma proteins, which begin clot formation and slow or stop blood loss.

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