Blood, that red fluid that rushes out of our bodies when we are injured. This happens often, but we never get used to it. We never understand what it really is. We just get scared when we see it. We cringe when we must talk about it but we seldom give a thought to its role in human anatomy.
This week, Mangosuthu University of Technology’s Biomedical Technology Lecturer, Venishree Nundkissor noted the important role played by the blood in our survival.
“Blood carries vital nutrients and oxygen to all the cells and removes waste and carbon dioxide, which is harmful to the body and thus homeostasis is maintained. As soon as these processes are defective for whatever reasons, disease sets in. For example, if the brain does not receive oxygen within a few minutes due to perhaps a clot occluding the flow of blood, then the person ends up with an ischemic stroke,” said Nundkissor. For all this to happen, Nundkissor explains, the human body uses the heart. The heart is responsible for transporting blood throughout the body. She highlights the hearts’ role because the University acknowledged the February as a Month of Love, which is symbolized by the heart.
Nundkissor said that some of the common blood diseases are anaemia and Leukemia. According to Nundkissor, anaemia is a disorder that affects the red cells in the blood because of iron deficiency. Nundkissor said the red cells become smaller than normal due to lack of iron “thus cannot perform their function well; this could lead to hypoxia,” which is a deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues.
Nundkissor said hypoxia resulted in patients experiencing fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, and have brittle nails among other symptoms. Treatment includes iron therapy.
“The iron stores usually take about three months to be replenished,” explained Nundkissor. “Consult with your doctor so that you don’t end up with iron overload.”