Latest Issue of Science News


Feature

Blood, Iron, and Gray Hair

Anemia in old age is a rising concern

By
12:25pm, May 30, 2006

The life of a red blood cell is brief but fast paced. Each heartbeat pumps millions of the tiny cells into the body's vascular system at speeds of more than a meter per second. In about a minute, they can carry oxygen from the lungs to tissues in the rest of the body and return to the lungs. And they die before they're 4 months old. The body replaces old red blood cells by generating fresh ones, typically producing about 2 million cells per second.

For a variety of reasons, however, the production of new red cells can fall behind the loss of old ones.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from Science News