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American Red Cross answeredEach element of blood performs a special function in the body. The main elements of blood include two types of cells, platelets, and plasma. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to all other body tissues. In the tissues, these cells pick up carbon dioxide that is carried back to the lungs to be released from the body. White blood cells are one of the body’s defenses against disease. Some of these cells travel throughout the body and destroy bacteria, some produce antibodies against bacteria and viruses, and others help fight malignant diseases. Platelets are blood elements that lead to the formation of blood clots in response to injury.Plasma is a yellowish fluid composed of about 92 percent water and 7 percent vital proteins, such as albumin, gamma globulin, anti-hemophilic factor, and other clotting factors. The remainder consists of mineral salts, sugars, fats, hormones, and vitamins. Red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets account for about 45 percent of the volume of blood in the body. The remaining 55 percent is plasma.