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Riding On The Red-road
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Red blood cells perform the most important blood duty. A single drop of blood contains millions of
red blood cells which are constantly traveling through your body delivering oxygen and removing
waste. If they weren't, your body would slowly die.

Red blood cells are red only because they contain a protein chemical called hemoglobin which is
bright red in color. Hemoglobin contains the element Iron, making it an excellent vehicle for
transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide. As blood passes through the lungs, oxygen molecules attach
to the hemoglobin. As the blood passes through the body's tissue, the hemoglobin releases the
oxygen to the cells. The empty hemoglobin molecules then bond with the tissue's carbon dioxide or
other waste gases, transporting it away.

Over time, the red blood cells get worn out and eventually die. The average life cycle of a red blood
cell is 120 days. Your bones are continually producing new blood cells, replenishing your supply. The
blood itself, however, is re-circulated throughout your body, not being remade all of the time.

Since the human body is continually making more blood, it is safe for healthy adults to donate blood.
The blood is then stored for use in emergency situations. Initially after giving blood, the donor may
feel some momentary lightheadedness due to the loss of oxygen-rich red blood cells and blood sugar.
The body quickly stabilizes itself.

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