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Blood is a complicated liquid containing a multitude of different cells, nutrients and proteins. The cells of the blood comprise white blood cells, which are essential to dealing with infection by viruses and bacteria, platelets which cause the blood to clot and redblood cells which carry oxygen around the bodyand deliver it to the furthermost tissues.The bone marrow is the site of production of most blood cells in adults; the liver and spleen have more minor roles. On average adults have five litres/nine pints of blood and each drop contains millions of these platelets, white cells and red cells. The average red blood cell has a life of four months, the other components usually have much shorter lives.Within the liquid component of blood (called plasma) many other components float;there are hormones carrying messages to different parts of the body e.g. see diabetes, there are defensive proteins (eg antibodies),proteins which transport things e.g.

carrying hormones as well as sugar, salt and minerals.The body can replace blood rapidly if necessary, which is whyblood donation is possible. The body replaces the pint or so of blood within just a couple of days.

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