Typically, we tend to focus on our blood when we get a paper cut, donate, or find ourselves at the hospital. The truth is there’s a lot more to the life-sustaining fluid that drips into a testing tube, a band-aid, or an intravenous (IV) line. Without blood, our bodies would be unable to receive the adequate supply of fuel and oxygen to reach the billions of cells all essential for good health. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. More than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day, and a total of 30 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S., according to the American Red Cross. Blood is necessary for our existence, since it carries oxygen and essential chemicals needed in the body while also picking up and delivering waste that different parts of the body no longer need. Therefore, it’s important to learn some little-known facts about the life-sustaining fluid that helps our bodies function.
- Eight percent of your body weight is in your blood.
Scientists have estimated the volume of blood in the human body to be eight percent of body weight, according to the American Society of Hematology. An average adult body with a weight of 150 to 180 pounds will contain about 1.2 to 1.5 gallons of blood. Meanwhile, an average child with a body weight of 80 pounds will have half the amount of blood as an adult.
- There is 0.2 milligrams of gold in your body, most of which is in your blood.
The human body contains gold, but it’s not enough to strike it rich. The body contains approximately 0.2 milligrams of gold that is most diffused with our blood. However, you would need to bleed 40,000 people dry just to collect enough blood to make an 8-gram souvenir, The Telegraph reported.
- Coconut water can be used (in emergencies) as a substitute for blood plasma.
Coconut water is often touted as a recovery drink because of the hydrating electrolytes it contains. The belief it can be used as a subsitute for blood plasma stems from the fact coconut water possesses identical properties to that of human plasma, and since it can be safely injected directly into the bloodstream. A small scale 1999 study published in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine found the use of coconut water served as a short-term IV hydration fluid for a Solomon Island patient when nothing else was available.
- Pregnant women have about 50% more blood by week 20 of pregnancy than they did before they conceived.
During pregnancy, a woman’s blood volume increases by 50 percent to help support the uterus, along with the amount of blood pumped by the heart. This extra volume is necessary to provide blood to the uterus and placenta, says All Children’s Hospital. By the end of the pregnancy, a woman’s uterus will receive one-fifth of her pre-pregnancy blood supply.
- Your blood type can increase memory problems.
The life-sustaining liquid has more power over brain function than most like to think. A 2014 study published in the journal Neurology found those with blood type AB were twice as likely to experience memory problems as those with type O blood. However, AB patients shouldn’t worry since the association made was relatively small and warrants further research to validate the claim. This blood type is also prone to blood clots and can lead to heart attacks, stroke, or other vein clogging due to its higher levels of protein VIII.
- James Harrison has donated blood over 1,000 times, saving over 2 million unborn babies from Rhesus disease.
James Harrison, also known as “ the man with the golden arm” due to the unusual composition of his blood, has saved over two million babies through blood donations. His blood contains Rho(D) Immune Globulin, an antibody that is used to treat Rhesus disease, a disease which antibodies destroy a pregnant woman’s blood destroys her baby’s blood cells. He has donated blood a record 1,000 times and saved 2,000,000 lives, Ten News reported.
- Green Bay Packers fan unknowingly treated fatal blood disease through blood donations to afford football games.
Jim Becker, a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan, used to donate blood to afford to buy tickets to the Packers games for 56 years, to discover he was saving his own life all along. The Packers fan was told by his doctor his blood donations may have dampened the effects of an undiagnosed case of hemochromatosis, a blood disorder that took his father’s life, ABC News reported. The only treatment for hemochromatosis is to donate blood routinely, or about one unit of blood per week until iron levels are back to normal.