The Difference Between Red and White Blood Cells « Allied Health World Blog

The Difference Between Red and White Blood Cells

There are several different types of blood cells in the human body. Basically they can be divided into two groups- red blood cells and white blood cells. The red blood cells are erythrocytes. The white blood cells are leukocytes. There are two types of white blood cells. They are granulocytes and aganulocytes.

Erythrocytes are red blood cells and are the most numerous cells in the blood. The main function of an erythrocyte cell is to carry oxygen from the lungs to the cells as well as carry carbon dioxide from the cells back to the lungs. Produced in the bone marrow, most red blood cells have a life span of approximately 120 days. After they begin to die, they are taken from the bloodstream by the spleen and liver where they are processed and prepared for elimination.

Leukocytes are the white blood cells and are also formed in the red bone marrow as well as in lymphatic tissue. These types of cells have the ability to leave the bloodstream and enter the tissues of the body. They have a life span that can last from 6 to 8 hours in the bloodstream or days, months or years in the tissues. Their life span varies depending on the type of cell.

Granulocytes are white blood cells that contain easily visible granules when stained with a special blood stain called Wright's stain. There are three types of granulocytes: neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils. In adults, neutophils are the most numerous type of white blood cell.

White blood cells that lack granules or that has fine granules that are not easily seen are called agranulocytes. There are two types of agraulocytes: monocytes and lymphocytes. The lymphocytes are the second most numerous white blood cells in the body.