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Understanding Platelets & Plasma Better

Published Date : September 05, 2018

What are platelets?

Platelets are a type blood cells that are usually smaller than the red blood cells and do not contain hemoglobin. Platelets are disc- shaped elements in blood are present in humans and animals (mammals). Platelets cause blood clotting and helps stop bleeding if there’s any cut or injury on the body. 

What is plasma?

Plasma is also known as blood plasma, it forms the liquid part of the blood. Plasma acts as a medium of transport of nutrients to the cell of the various organs of the body and delivers the waste products from the cellular metabolism to the kidneys, lungs and livers for excretion. It is very important to maintain the blood pressure and help in distributing heat in the entire body and to maintain homeostasis. 

What is the difference between plasma and platelet?

A) Definition -

  • Platelet- Platelets are a disc shaped blood cells present in mammals.
  • Plasma- Plasma is the liquid part of the blood and helps in maintaining blood pressure.

B) Function-

  • Platelet- Helps in clotting of blood which reduces bleeding after a cut or an injury.
  • Plasma - Acts as a medium of transport of nutrients to the cell of the various organs of the body and delivers the waste products from the cellular metabolism to the kidneys, lungs and livers for excretion.

C) Colour-

  • Platelet- Red in colour
  • Plasma - yellow straw in colour

D) Importance -

  • Platelets - Important for circulation of blood throughout the body
  • Plasma - Necessary for maintaining hygiene across the body organs and maintaining energy or nutrients level in the body.

E) Effects on injury –

  • Platelets - Stops bleeding after clotting
  • Plasma - Help blood cell to heal

What is plasma donation?

Donating plasma is very similar to donating blood. The medical practitioner inserts a needle in the vein in the arm, then plasma is collected through a procedure known as plasmapheresis and is piloted in cycles which may happen within an hour. The process involves taking the whole and then separating the plasma from the red blood cells and other cellular components. 

What is platelet donation?

Platelet donation is very similar to plasma donation. It can even be known as blood donation. The needle inserted in the arm pulls through the whole blood and later platelets are separated from the blood. This process takes up to an hour to be completed. 

Why is plasma or platelet donation important?

Donation of plasma and platelet are often known as ‘gift of life’ as plasma and platelet are very necessary for survival. As the life depend upon plasma protein and platelet count. 

How does the donation take place?

Donation has three major steps –

  • Insertion of needle in the arm and pulling out of blood in a machine using a disposable system.
  • The machine then separates the blood in the form cell and the plasma.
  • The plasma or the platelet is collected, stored carefully and transferred into other body which requires it.