Plasma is the yellowish liquid that carries our blood cells, platelets, and proteins throughout the body. Everyone knows that it is important to donate blood, there are signs that pop up everywhere that say "Donate today" or "Bloodmobile." Did you know that it is also important to donate plasma?
Plasma carries blood throughout the body, helps with blood clotting, carries hormones, clears waste, and fights infection. Plasma transfusions are given to people who are preparing for surgery, have suffered trauma, are fighting a disease, or expecting mothers with opposing Rh factors as their baby. The wonderful thing about plasma is that it has no "type." Anyone between the ages of 18 and 69 that weigh at least 110 pounds can donate plasma as long at they're in good health. The plasma that is donated can be given in transfusions to improve or save a life, sent to a plasma fractionation plant where it is processed to separate its many proteins, or utilized in a plasma exchange.
A fractionation plant breaks down plasma to make medical products such as immunoglobulins, coagulation factors, and human albumin solutions. People who lack the ability for their blood to clot, to have the correct amounts of the protein albumin, or the antibodies to fight off infection can suffer greatly with these deficiencies. There are hundreds of products that are made in fractionation plants to benefit patients in need.
Plasma exchanges (plasmapheresis) are given to people with rare blood conditions. Patients are hooked up to a machine that removes their blood and plasma from one arm, separates their blood from their plasma, then returns the blood and a plasma substitute to their blood stream through the other arm. This could take up to hours and only 100 ml of blood leaves the body at a time.
Plasma makes up about 49.5% of the contents in your cardiovascular system. It plays an important role in carrying blood, proteins, hormones, and other important molecules throughout the body. People who have deficiencies in something contained in the plasma can suffer greatly. By donating plasma, you have the ability to improve and/or save a persons life. Many plasma donation centers compensate plasma donors for their time. BioLife is a donation facility that has centers in 24 of our 50 states. Centers, such as BioLife, make donating easy. Why not save a life?
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