Yes, it’s a good cause, but did you know that donating blood also has health benefits? The benefits of donating blood include good health and a reduced risk of cancer and hemochromatosis. It may help in reducing the risk of damage to the liver and pancreas and even assist in improving cardiovascular health and reducing obesity.
Every day, blood transfusions take place and save the lives of many people all over the world. About 5 million Americans are in need of a blood transfusion, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Donating blood is good for the health of donors as well as those who need it. It is important that blood donation takes place in a hospital, a clinic or a blood bank, in the presence of medical experts. Donors should ensure that they are in good health to avoid any health issues post-transfusion to those who use it.
Donating blood can help in treating patients suffering from cancer. It is important to know that human blood cannot be manufactured, people are the only source for it and that is why it is important to donate blood and help those in need. It is also possible to store your own blood for your future needs. Make sure the blood is stored in a good blood bank.
A mini health exam, which includes a checklist for diseases related to blood pressure and infectious diseases should be conducted before initiating the collection of blood. Those who have medical conditions such as AIDS and hepatitis should not donate blood. People who have taken vaccinations or have undergone any surgery or have cancer, diabetes, cold and flu should consult health experts before donating blood. Pregnant women should seek expert advice before donating blood.
Health Benefits of Donating Blood
Blood donation not only improves the receiver’s life but may also help the donor to maintain good health. The benefits are mentioned below.
Health benefits of blood donation include a reduced risk of hemochromatosis. Hemochromatosis is a health condition that arises due to excess absorption of iron by the body. This may be inherited or may be caused due to alcoholism, anemia or other disorders. Regular blood donation may help in reducing iron overload. Make sure that the donor meets the standard blood donation eligibility criteria.
Blood donation may help in lowering the risk of cancer. By donating blood the iron stores in the body are maintained at healthy levels. According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, iron may cause accelerated free radical damage in the body and may be linked to an increased risk of cancer and aging. Researchers concluded that reduced iron stores caused due to blood donation may reduce cancer risk.
Maintains Healthy Heart & Liver
Blood donation is beneficial in reducing the risk of heart and liver ailments caused by the iron overload in the body. Intake of iron-rich diet may increase the iron levels in the body, and since only limited proportions can be absorbed, excess iron gets stored in the heart, liver, and the pancreas. This, in turn, increases the risk of liver damage, cirrhosis, liver failure, damage to the pancreas, and heart abnormalities like irregular heart rhythms. Blood donation helps in maintaining iron levels and reduces the risk of various health ailments.
Regular blood donation reduces the weight of the donors. This is helpful for those who are obese and are at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and other health disorders. However, blood donation should not be very frequent and you may consult your doctor before donating blood to avoid any health issues.
Stimulates Blood Cell Production
After donating blood, the body works to replenish the blood loss. This stimulates the production of new blood cells and, in turn, helps in maintaining good health.
Blood Donation Process
It is always good to plan blood donation in advance, according to the American Red Cross. Consult your doctor before donating blood if there are any health issues or concerns. It is always good to have a healthy diet weeks before the donation. On the day of donation, make sure you are well hydrated, so keep drinking plenty of fluids. One should wear comfortable clothes during the donation process. In case you are undergoing any treatment or medication, it is advisable to inform the blood bank/clinic/hospital where you are donating blood.
How often can you donate blood?
You have to wait for 56 days or 8 weeks between whole blood donations. The waiting period is 112 days or 16 weeks between power red donations. Avoid donation if you’re suffering from any disorders, and consult your doctor before doing it.
How much blood do you donate?
You can donate one unit or 350 ml of blood every 8 weeks. Organizations such as the American Red Cross organize donation camps where one can participate and donate blood. You can also donate blood at any hospital.
How old do you have to be to donate blood?
The age of the donor must be at least 17 years and their weight should be more than 45 kgs to be able to donate blood. Any healthy person can donate blood after the required gap of 56 days. This wait time helps replenish the blood levels in the donor’s body. There is ideally no upper limit for donating blood as long as you are healthy.
How to donate bone marrow?
The first step towards bone marrow donation is sharing your details with bone marrow registers/websites. When a donation is needed, doctors would find the matching tissue type and contact you.
Who cannot donate blood?
Individuals below the age of 18 and above 60 and with weight lower than 110 lbs cannot donate blood. A person with an active infection, acute infection or diseases like HIV/AIDS should not donate blood. It is advisable to consult a doctor and share medical history before going for blood donation.
Donate blood, stay healthy, and save lives!