How Long Do Red Blood Cells Live (And Why)?

How Long Do Red Blood Cells Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 120 Days

A human looks very simple from the outside but is equally complex from the inside. There are a lot of things that a human is made of. Right from the tiniest cell to the bones, everything is well placed in a human body to carry out different functions in the body.

There is absolutely nothing in the human body that does not have importance. Everything is supposed to work in some way so that a human can survive. These things will be the same in every individual that has ever been born. Internally, all humans have similar organs that help a human to stay alive. One such important thing is a red blood cell.

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How Long Do Red Blood Cells Live?

Blood and blood cells are one of the most important things that exist in the human body. It is a fundamental thing for the living of a human. Without blood in the body, the organs will fail, and the human will eventually die.

The primary function of the blood is to provide oxygen and necessary nutrients to different parts of the body. Besides that, the blood cells are known to fight off the infection that can cause problems in the body. The constitution of the blood is also imminent as every minute detail matters.

The blood is constituted of four different parts. These parts are red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. All of these parts are important to the functioning of the human body. An imbalance here and there can cause problems in the body over time. These parts of the blood are produced and replaced continuously. Hence, whether it is a red blood cell or a white blood cell, it will live only for some time. After some time, it will be replaced with new blood cells and plasma.

The red blood cells also go through the same process. Once it is done with the work it is supposed to do, it is replaced with a new red blood cell. The average lifespan of a red blood cell is 120 days

Blood ConditionHow Long The Red Blood Cells Live
Normal Healthy Blood120 Days
Hemolysis100 Days

Why Do Red Blood Cells Live That Long?

The primary part of the blood is the RBC or Red Blood Cells. On average, an adult person has about 20 to 30 billion RBCs in their body. However, these RBCs are destructed after 120 days. There are a few reasons why the red blood cells will remain active only for 120 days. The reasons are as below:

  • In a healthy human, the red blood cells will do their function of transporting oxygen and necessary nutrients to different parts of the body. After about 120 days, the RBCs starts aging, and then it needs to be cleared from the circulation. When the RBCs age, their progressive surface area reduces considerably. With that, there is also a decline in metabolism. Hence it becomes imminent to clear the red blood cells above 120 days to be removed from the circulation.
  • The time even shortens further in a human who has blood-related issues like Anemia. In a condition like that, the blood production is also less, so is the lifespan of a single red blood cell.
  • Sometimes there is a condition of toxic inflammation that occurs due to hemolysis and also free-ion. That becomes the main reason for the clearance of the red blood cells to happen at a fast rate.


Red Blood Cells or RBCs are necessary to the human body. The most important function of circulating oxygen in the body is solely dependent on the RBC’s themselves.

However, there are many conditions where the lifespan of the RBC reduces, which is not healthy for the human body. There is a limited option available to the person who faces such an issue.

Usually, this process of creation and destruction of the RBC happens on its own. In some cases, there might be a need to do a transfusion. It is so that the count of the RBC is maintained.


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