Plasma in Blood – All you need to know

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What is plasma?

Plasma

Human blood can be separated into various components. One of the most vital components is plasma.

Human blood contains

Plasma makes up about 50% of blood. It is responsible for executing various functions in the body.

Plasma is clear and it is the single largest component of the human blood.

Plasma is 90% water. The water in plasma helps to fill the blood vessels which moves the blood and other important nutrients to the heart.

Plasma also contains several important components like

  • Proteins
  • Immunoglobulins and
  • Electrolytes.

What functions does plasma perform?

The main function of plasma is to remove waste from cellular functions and to produce energy.

Plasma transports the waste to other areas of the body for excretion.

Apart from these main functions plasma has several other functions which are carried out by various components present in them.

The plasma is also responsible for maintaining proper pH balance in the body.

Proteins in plasma

Plasma contains two important proteins called albumin and fibrinogen.

Albumin protein is important for maintaining the balance of fluids in the blood.

Fibrinogen will help reduce active bleeding and plays an important role in the blood clotting process.

In case a person loses a lot of blood they can loose plasma, and make it difficult for the body to clot blood.

Immunoglobulins

Plasma contains gamma globulins, which is a type of immunoglobulin that helps the body combat infections.

Electrolytes

Plasma contains common electrolytes like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Every mineral plays a key role in the body.

When the body is deprived of enough electrolytes it can exhibit symptoms like

The body requires adequate plasma.

How do we know if we have enough plasma?

Plasma protein tests are conducted to detect the amount of protein in the blood.

A doctor may also ask a person to undergo the test if they believe there might be an underlying health condition.

The plasma protein test will help a doctor to determine the overall health of a person.

By undergoing the test, the doctor can identify a few disorders like

If a doctor advises a person to undergo the test, it is important to understand that it should be done immediately.

Usually, a doctor advises a person to avoid medication before the test as it may interfere with the test result.

What are the symptoms to look out for?

When the body has abnormal levels of protein It may exhibit a few symptoms like

  • Slow clotting of blood
  • brittle nails
  • hair loss
  • bruises
  • rashes
  • headache
  • vomiting and
  • nausea.

Similarly, high protein levels in the body can also cause

However, it is important to remember that the symptoms may vary depending on the person and the condition causing abnormal plasma protein levels in the body.

Donating plasma

Globally people lose a lot of blood due to unfortunate events like accidents or surgeries.

While losing blood they also lose a lot of plasma. As mentioned, plasma plays a vital role in the body. Losing it can have serious effects on a person’s health.

This is why there are many health centers and organizations collecting plasma.

The procedure of plasma donation

There are a couple of methods to donate plasma. The first method is by donating blood.

The other procedure involves donating only plasma. This method is performed through a series of procedures called plasmapheresis.

Plasmapheresis is a process where the liquid part of the blood is separated from the blood cells.

In this procedure, a machine would draw the blood from the vein into a centrifuge. When the centrifuge spins rapidly, it separates plasma from the other blood components.

This is possible because the plasma is lighter than the other components in the blood.

So, while spinning the glass , plasma  will rise to the top and other components are separated.

Can anyone donate plasma?

There are a few prerequisites for donating plasma.

  • The donor must be between the age of 18 and 70
  • The donor must be at least 50 kg
  • The donor must not have donated plasma for one month.

Why donating plasma is important?

A very small number of people donate plasma. Plasma on blood donation or critical activities that can save lives.

Plasma or recovered plasma is used for therapies that can treat people with rare or chronic disorders.

Usually donating plasma takes between 1 to 3 hours. Donating blood or plasma has ethical reasons because at uncertain times it is equally important for the donor in a medical need.

What are the risk factors involved in plasma donation?

Some people may feel allergic reactions while donating plasma. The needles might trigger reactions in people.

In rare cases, people can experience lung damage and also some difficulty in breathing.

In certain cases when needles are not sterilized properly infections like HIV and hepatitis can affect a person.

If the needle is injected into a person who already has a disease and then the non-sterilized needle is injected into another person the blood carries infections.

To sum up

Plasma plays an integral role in regulating the body temperature to fight disease.

Not having enough plasma can cause serious health consequences.

People can donate plasma to others. Such noble acts can save lives, as plasma can be stored frozen for more than a year.

FAQ

1.How to donate plasma?

To donate plasma a person must be a minimum of 18 years old and have good health. They must weigh at least 50 kg.
 There would be a mandatory medical screening test to check if a person is eligible to become a donor. On completing the medical test, a person can donate plasma.

2.Who can donate plasma?

Any person
 Who is above 18 years old
Weighing more than 50 kg
Having a good health condition
Passing a medical examination
Can donate plasma.

3.Importance of donating plasma.

Plasma donation can save lives. Plasma is required for many people with rare diseases and chronic health conditions.

4.How does plasma keep us healthy?

The most important role of plasma is to take nutrients or proteins to other parts of the body.
 Doing so, enables that various parts of the body are enriched with nutrients, thus keeping us healthy.

5.What is the most common use of plasma?

Plasma which is donated is used to make various pharmaceutical products to treat people with immunodeficiencies or chronic health conditions.

6.Is it safe to give plasma?

Donating plasma is a completely safe activity with minor side effects like dehydration.
 These side effects are not life-threatening nor will they cause serious damage to health.
 The side effects can be contained through proper follow-up.

7. Why do people need plasma?

Plasma is required as it is essential to carry nutrients from the blood to other parts of the body.
 Plasma from donors is also used to treat other people with chronic health conditions.

8.What is plasma used to treat?

Plasma is usually given to treat burns and shock patients. Plasma also serves well for people with liver diseases or various blood clotting deficiencies.
 Plasma is also given to increase a person ‘s blood volume.

9.Why should you never donate plasma?

Plasma donation should be avoided if a person is not more than 18 years old and has a hemoglobin count of less than eight.
 People suffering from chronic kidney, lungs or liver diseases should restrict themselves from donating plasma because it does more harm than good.

10. Does donating plasma have side effects?

Usually for most people donating plasma will not cause any side effects but a few of them may experience fatigue or dehydration.


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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