Red Blood Cells

Haematology at a Glance
Pathophysiology of Blood Disorders
Haematology at a Glance Pathophysiology of Blood Disorders

Red Blood Cells which are also known as erythrocytes, are one of the many components - including the different types of cells that, together, form blood.


The structure of red blood cells (or erythrocytes) can be described as follows:

  • Immature erythrocytes have a nucleus but mature erythrocytes have no nucleus.
  • Haem
    • Red Blood Cells have a "prosthetic group" (meaning "in addition to" - in this case, in addition to the cell). The active component of this prosthetic group is Haem.
    • Haem relies on the presence of iron (Fe).
    • Haem combines with oxygen to form oxyhaemoglobin.
  • Red Blood Cells are eventually broken down by the spleen into the blood pigments bilinubin and bilviridin, and iron. These components are then transported by the blood to the liver where the iron is re-cycled for use by new red blood cells, and the blood pigments form bile salts. (Bile breaks down fats.)
  • Have a longevity of approx. 120 days.
  • There are approx. 4.5 - 5.8 million red blood cells per micro-litre of healthy blood, although there are variations between racial groups and between men and women.


The most important function of red blood cells is that of:

  • Transporting oxygen around the body.


For more information about other components (sometimes called the 'constituents') of blood, see the page about the structure and functions of blood. This may interest students of holistic massage, reflexology, beauty therapies, or health-related courses.

More about blood

In the News:

Garlic and Artichoke adopted through ABC's Adopt-an-Herb Program - 14 Jun '19

Cranberry Harvest underway in USA - 5 Oct '18

Total retail sales of herbal supplements in the USA exceeded $8 Billion in 2017 - 13 Sep '18

It's a bumper blueberry season - 13 Jul '18

Positive effects of exercise on blood cell populations - 20 Jun '18

Benefits of dementia friendly swimming opportunities - 30 May '18

Essential oils used in ambulances - 28 May '18

Psychological benefits of different types of natural environments - 2 Nov '17

Tread gently to sense the world around you and the presence of loving Angels.

Although care has been taken when compiling this page, the information contained might not be completely up to date. Accuracy cannot be guaranteed. This material is copyright. See terms of use.

IvyRose Holistic 2003-2019.