When we hear the word “bone(s)”, we normally think of the classic science class skeleton hanging or standing somewhere in a corner, or the tv show about forensics and criminal investigation. Some might also be reminded of a time when they suffered terrible pain in the breaking of their bones. Whatever the case, we rarely think of an essential structure that helps us avoid fatal endings, known as “bone marrow”.
The bone marrow is a living, sponge-like tissue that resides within the inner spaces of long bones and flat bones in our bodies. Bone marrow is incharge of creating all types of blood cells, such as red cells, white cells, and platelets. There are two types of bone marrow, red bone marrow and yellow bone marrow. While yellow bone marrow is largely inactive, it aids in the functions of the red marrow.
Red bone marrow is where the action happens. This area of the bone marrow covers 100% of the bone medulla in newborns and reduces to 50% when we become adults. However, if we have lost much blood, yellow marrow will convert into red marrow to produce more red blood cells. Red marrow creates billions of all kinds of blood cells each day in a process known as hematopoiesis. In hematopoiesis, stem cells give rise to all of the different mature blood cell types and tissues. Without bone marrow, our body wouldn’t be able to be oxygenated, fight infections, and close injuries to stop bleeding.