What are Red Blood Cells (RBCs)?

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What are Red Blood Cells (RBCs)?    Blog Image


Red blood cells exposed to oxygen deficiency protect against myocardial infarction (heart attack), according to a new study.

  • About Red Blood Cells (RBCs):
  • RBCs, or erythrocytes, are one of the components of blood. (The others are plasma, platelets and white blood cells.) 
  • Function:
    • They deliver oxygen to the tissues throughout the human body. 
    • Oxygen turns into energy, and tissues release carbon dioxide.
    • RBCs also transport carbon dioxide back to the lungs to be exhaled.
  • Where are RBCs made?
    • They are made in the bone marrow.
    • They typically live for about 120 days, and then they die.
  • Hemoglobin:
    • RBCs contain a protein called hemoglobin, which binds to oxygen in the lungs, forming oxyhemoglobin.
    • Hemoglobin also helps carry carbon dioxide back to the lungs as carbaminohemoglobin.
  • Shape:  
    • RBCs are biconcave, disc-shaped cells with a dimple in the center on both sides. This unique shape increases the surface area of the cell, allowing for efficient gas exchange.
    • It is covered with a membrane composed of lipids and proteins and lacks a nucleus.
  • What does a low RBC count mean?
    • A low RBC count, known as anemia, can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness and other symptoms. If untreated, anemia can lead to serious complications. 
    • In many cases, anemia occurs when people don’t eat a nutrient-rich diet.
    • It can also be caused by pregnancy and certain medical conditions such as bleeding disorders and kidney disease.
    • Choosing foods that are rich in iron and other vitamins and minerals can help raise the RBC count. 


What is Sickle cell anemia?

  • It is an inherited blood disorder.
  • It affects hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body. 
  • People with this disease have atypical hemoglobin molecules called hemoglobin S, which can distort red blood cells into a sickle, or crescent, shape.
  • These sickle cells also become rigid and sticky, which can slow or block blood flow.
  • What causes it?
    • The cause of Sickle cell disease is a defective gene called a sickle cell gene.
    • A person will be born with sickle cell disease only if two genes are inherited—one from the mother and one from the father.
  • Treatments:
    • The only cure for this disease is bone marrow or stem cell transplantation.
    • However, there are treatments that can help relieve symptoms, lessen complications, and prolong life.


Q1) What is bone marrow?

Bone marrow is a soft, spongy tissue found in the cavities of certain bones in the human body. It is a crucial part of the human circulatory system and plays a vital role in blood formation, immune function, and the storage of fat.

Source: Red blood cells exposed to oxygen deficiency protect against heart attack