Blood is an important fluid in any living being. But blood color may be different in humans. Some may have lighter shades of red; while for others it may be bit darker or maroon-colored. What does it mean when your blood is dark red and thick?
1. What is Blood?
Blood is a fluid connective tissue that runs in the veins and arteries of humans and animals. It is responsible for all the functions happening in our body. The nutrients and minerals that are absorbed from the food we eat. It is taken to different parts of the body, once they mix into the blood. It can be termed as life-maintaining liquid or fluid. Hematology is the study of blood and blood disorders. (See How much blood is in Your Body?)
2. What are Components of Blood?
There are almost 4 main components present in the blood. These components together make up this fluid that runs in our veins. They include:
- Red Blood Cells (RBCs), also known as erythrocytes, make up 45 – 50% of volume. These cells have no nucleus; hence, they have a short lifespan. Old red blood cells are replaced by new blood cells every 100-120 days approximately. These red blood cells are produced in the bone marrow. Also, haemoglobin is a protein that is found in the red blood cells that are responsible for giving them the red color they have.
- White blood cells (WBCs), also known as leukocytes, are responsible to protect our body from infection. They are not white in color and do not even turn our blood white. But since they fight bacteria that enter into our body, they are also called soldier cells.
- Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are small parts of the cell and not an entire cell. Their presence is necessary as they prevent excess or unnecessary blood loss from an injury. However, their presence in excess is also harmful as they cause internal blood clots in nerves. Hence, it can lead to life-threatening situations like stroke and heart attacks. If the platelets count is good then the blood will start clotting within a few seconds and there would be no major blood loss. But if they are less than required then the situation can be worse.
- Plasma is the liquid component of blood that helps to transport the blood cells throughout the body. It is a mixture of water, sugar, fat, proteins, and salts. It accounts for approx 55% blood fluid.
3. What are the Functions of Blood?
- Blood is responsible for controlling body temperature.
- It carries oxygen from the lungs to the other parts of the body, including the heart, and takes the carbon dioxide back to the lungs.
- It also transports minerals, nutrients, & hormones to the different parts of the body.
- Moreover, it takes waste products to the kidney and liver for excretion.
4. What Causes Darkness & Thickness of Blood?
Blood, like other fluids, can be thick as well as thin in consistency. Its consistency depends upon the balance of various blood components and proteins.
- The presence of dead blood cells, while the new blood cells are developed, can cause overpopulation of blood cells. This answers what does it mean when your blood is dark red.
- When the proteins responsible for clotting are more than required, blood can get thick.
- Certain diseases which have affected the clotting of blood can also cause it to be thick.
The condition involving the thickening of blood is known as hypercoagulability. (See Why you should drink more Water?)
5. What are Risks affiliated with Thick Blood?
Unnecessary blood clot in the veins and arteries hinders certain organs from working.
- One life-threatening condition caused due to blood clot is pulmonary emboli. It causes blood clots in the pulmonary artery of the lungs and hinders the flow of oxygen.
- Apart from this, the blood clot in the nerves of the brain can lead to a stroke also.
Although there is no evidence to prove that the thickness of blood hampers the life span of any person, but it sure does hamper the working of important body organs which ultimately leads to severe damage. There are certain ways to thin the blood. We highly suggest that you consult a doctor before trying them. (Also see Why do we develop grey or white hair?)
6. What does it mean when your blood is dark?
Humans have blood that is bright red in color when the haemoglobin present in the blood is enriched with oxygen. However, it becomes dark red in color when the haemoglobin in blood lacks oxygen. So, the color of blood being dark red or bright red depends largely upon the presence or absence of oxygen in the hemoglobin. (Also read How Acidic Is Stomach Acid?)
We hope you got the answer to the question why is my blood so dark and thick. Make sure to take care of underlying problems, before it’s too late.