Have you ever wondered why blood is so essential to human life? It’s because blood circulates throughout your body, delivering vital substances to your cells and transporting waste products away from cells. Without blood, your body’s organs can’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need to survive. As a result, you won’t be able to fight off infections or keep warm or cool off.
Blood is comprised of four parts:
- Red blood cells (also known as RBCs or erythrocytes) make up approximately 45 percent of blood. They carry oxygen from your lungs to your body’s tissue, as well as carbon dioxide back to your lungs to be exhaled. Red blood cells are disc-shaped and are produced in the bone marrow.
- White blood cells (also known as WBCs or leukocytes) are also created in the marrow. Along with platelets, they make up less than 1 percent of blood. Nevertheless, white blood cells play a significant role in fighting infection.
- Platelets (also known as thrombocytes) are also produced in bone marrow. Their purpose is to interact with clotting proteins to stop or prevent bleeding.
- Plasma is the fluid component of blood. It is composed of 92 percent water, 7 percent proteins, and 1 percent mineral salts, sugars, fats, hormones, and vitamins.
When there is a problem related to your blood that requires treatment – such as a disorder or malignancies like hemophilia, blood clots, leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, or sickle-cell anemia – your best course of action is to consult with a hematologist.
For the most part, hematologists focus on lymphatic systems and bone marrow. Their main task is to diagnose blood count or platelet irregularities and treat organs that depend on blood cells to function, such as the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, and lymphoid tissue. Hematology, therefore, is a branch of internal medicine that deals with the science or study of blood and blood disease.
Hematology in Action
Hematologists work closely with other medical and surgical specialists, particularly oncologists. Together, they diagnose and treat children and adults with cancers of the blood and bone marrow, such as leukemia and lymphoma, starting with tests that measure blood count, blood chemistry, blood enzymes, and blood tests that assess heart disease risk.
These tests are often conducted during routine physical exams and can detect various issues, such as anemia, infections, immune system disorders, and clotting problems, as well as blood cancers, followed by appropriate treatment.
At SUNY: Upstate Medical University, for example, our board-certified hematology/oncology specialists are experts in a wide range of blood diseases, providing chemotherapy treatments and bone marrow transplants for cancer care on an inpatient and outpatient basis. Problems related to coagulation, anemia, or other blood disorders are treated with transfusions, phlebotomy (removing extra red blood cells), and iron infusions. We also provide a multidisciplinary approach to:
- Hemophilia care
- Neurologic-oncology services
- Breast cancer service
- Thoracic-oncology services
- Therapeutic apheresis
- Allogenic and autologous bone marrow transplant services
Hematology Services in Syracuse, New York
At SUNY: Upstate Medical University, we serve patients from a 17-county radius around central New York. Our physicians are supported by highly skilled nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, social workers, case managers, specially trained registered nurses, and support staff.
To learn more about our hematology services or to schedule an appointment, please call your hematology/oncology provider directly. You can also contact the Department of Medicine at SUNY: Upstate Medical University by sending an email to DeptMedicine@upstate.edu to find out more.