Almost 20,000 people could benefit from potentially life-saving bone marrow or umbilical cord transplants annually. Unfortunately, experts report that 70 percent of those in need don’t have a bone marrow donor match in the family. This means they must rely on outside donors to receive the life-saving bone marrow needed.
Bone marrow is a spongy tissue that is located in certain bones, like the bones of your hips and thighs. Inside this material, stem cells can be found.
These cells develop into many life-sustaining substances. For example, they can become oxygen-rich red blood cells or immunity-boosting white blood cells. They can even become platelets, which are needed for blood to clot.
Experts say that two types of bone marrow exist in the human body. Red marrow produces red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. However, the body also contains another type of bone marrow. That type of bone marrow is called yellow marrow. It is generally made up of fat cells.
Bone marrow changes color as we age. When we’re born and are young children, much of our bone marrow is red. But as we get older, about half of this bone marrow turns into yellow bone marrow.
Bone marrow is constantly at work. Experts say that every single day, the human body manufactures 200 billion brand-new red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets by way of bone marrow. Generally, 1 percent of these red blood cells are regenerated daily. Bone marrow even makes somewhere between 150,000 and 450,000 platelets for every microliter of blood in the body.