Why Plasma Is Important?

I’m sure that few times we must had listened the term Plasma, but how many of us know about it exactly? So here is a question to be think that what is Plasma? and why it is important?
It is the fluid part of the body’s blood. It contains significant proteins and different substances vital to one’s overall health. Plasma, also called blood plasma, the liquid portion of blood. It serves as a transport medium for delivering nutrients to the cells of the various organs of the body and for transporting waste products derived from cellular metabolism to the kidneys, liver, and lungs for excretion. It is also a transport system for blood cells, and it plays a critical role in maintaining normal blood pressure.

The elements of blood. blood vessel cut section.

Components Of Plasma?

It is a yellowish liquid component of blood that holds the blood cells in whole blood in suspension. It is the liquid part of the blood that carries cells and proteins throughout the body. It makes up about 55% of the body’s total blood volume.It is mostly water (up to 95% by volume), and contains dissolved proteins (6–8%) (e.g. serum albumins, globulins, and fibrinogen),[2] glucose, clotting factors, electrolytes, hormones, carbon dioxide and oxygen.
It helps carry proteins, hormones, and nutrients to different cells in your body. These include growth hormones that help your muscles and bones grow, as well as clotting factors that help you stop bleeding when you get a cut.

different components of blood
blood components

Importance Of Plasma To Your Health

It is a critical component in the treatment of many serious health problems. This is why there are frequent blood drives encouraging people to donate blood plasma.

Along with water, salt, and enzymes, human plasma also contains important components, such as immunoglobulins (antibodies), clotting factors, and the proteins albumin and fibrinogen. When you donate blood, health professionals can isolate these vital ingredients from your plasma and concentrate them into various products. These products are then used as treatments that can potentially help save the lives of people suffering from burns, shock, trauma, and other medical emergencies.

The proteins and antibodies in this are also used to create therapies for rare chronic conditions, such as autoimmune disorders and hemophilia. With access to these treatments, people with these conditions can live long and productive lives. In fact, some health organizations call plasma “the gift of life.”

Why Donate Plasma?

Doctors can use plasma to help treat different kinds of serious health problems. Some of the elements in it, including the antibodies and chemicals that help your blood to clot, can help in medical emergencies like burns and trauma.Other things that plasma donation are good for include:

Developing treatments:-

The antibodies and proteins can also be used to develop treatments for rare diseases, including some immune system problems.

Cancer:-

Adults and children with different kinds of cancer — including leukemia — sometimes need such transfusions.

Transplant surgery:-

Some people who get liver or bone marrow transplants need plasma.

Hemophilia:-

In this rare disorder, a person’s blood doesn’t have enough clotting factors, so donated plasma can help.

Criteria For Donating Plasma

To donate plasma, you have to be at least 18 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds. You’ll need to get a physical examination and get tested for certain viruses like HIV and hepatitis.Plasma donation requires a commitment both in the amount of time for each donation and frequency of donation. Typically it takes between one and three hours to donate source plasma, and it can be donated twice within a seven day period. Whole blood donation takes less time—under 30 minutes—and donors donate less frequently—no more than once in eight weeks.
If you have type AB blood, your plasma is needed the most, because it’s “universal.” This means it can be used by anyone, no matter what blood type they have. People with blood type AB make up just 4% of the population.

Donating plasma is a little different from donating whole blood. When you donate whole blood, it goes straight into a collection bag and is later separated in a lab. When you donate it, the blood that’s drawn from your arm goes through a special machine to separate the different parts of your blood. The parts that are left over, including your red blood cells, go back in your body, along with some saline (salt water) solution. The process usually takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

How Does the Plasma Collection Process Work?

Plasmapheresis is the automated plasma collection process which is used at plasma donation centers. A specialized medical device separates the plasma from the blood through this safe and sterile process. The plasma is collected while the remaining blood (including red blood cells and white blood cells) is returned to you, the donor.
This collection process is the most effective way of extracting this vital component from the blood, and since your body replenishes plasma quickly, it makes the recovery process faster and easier. As a result, you can make your life-saving donations more frequently – up to twice in a seven-day period, with 48 hours between donations.

Plasmapheresis, the device by which the plasma extracted and collected from the blood.
Plasma collection process

Why A Person Might Need A Plasma Transfusion?

You may need a plasma transfusion to replace missing or low levels of blood proteins due to:

  • A medical condition such as liver disease.
  • Heart surgery.
  • Severe blood loss.

Side Effects of Donating Plasma

Someone might feel all or several side effects from the following :-

  • Dehydration.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Bruising and discomfort.
  • Infection.
  • Citrate reaction.
  • Arterial puncture.

Are there options other than a plasma transfusion?

There are a number of alternative fluids and individual antibodies, albumin and clotting proteins that can replace the need to use fresh frozen plasma in some patients. Alternatives to a transfusion are used whenever possible, but fresh frozen plasma is used when there are no alternatives or when a patient needs replacement of more than one plasma protein.

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