Every two seconds, a person may require blood in the United States. The Red Cross reports that every day, people in the U.S. need approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells. Simply put, that is a lot of blood. In addition, patients with sickle cell disease or cancer need blood transfusions during their treatments, and only one car accident victim may need up to 100 pints of blood.
Since we cannot make or manufacture blood, these patients depend on blood donors for their lives.
You probably already knew about this. You have probably seen the banners and the sizeable mobile blood banks – community blood donations are often in the spotlight. We frequently hear about the importance of donating blood to patients. One blood drive could help up to three recipients.
Let’s talk about the benefits for the donor when donating blood. We often don’t hear about that side of the arrangement. While the impact is slightly less obvious, donating blood has several health advantages. It turns out that this compassionate choice can also have healthy lifestyle benefits for the donor.
Giving blood can seem scary, especially if it is your first time doing so. Maybe you are considering donating, but you are not sure what effect it will have on your body, or perhaps you have done it before and are curious about how it might affect you if you donate regularly. Whichever case, you may be amazed at some of the benefits. Based on the opinions of several health professionals, we will identify some of the most significant benefits of donating blood.
After donation, the blood is processed and separated into its few key components: red blood cells, platelets, and plasma.
In a hospital setting, they may use your blood for someone who needs a transfusion. As mentioned above, it includes car accident victims, burns victims, women who have given birth, or people with blood disorders such as anemia or sickle cell disease. By donating blood, you can also help somebody suffering from cancer and facing a strenuous time of endless treatments and hospital admissions. Even if your blood is frozen and in storage, the hospital can use it anytime for someone who needs it. After the booths have folded and the blood is in storge, you may be wondering what is next; the truth is, some of the benefits of giving your blood may be greater than you know.
While not the same as a trip to the doctor, donating blood can be another way to check your cardiovascular health. You will receive a mini-physical before your blood draw, where a trained nurse or doctor will monitor your pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, hemoglobin, and more. This event can, sometimes, throw light on issues you were unaware of, encouraging you to take appropriate action.
When donating blood, if your blood is too low in iron, they will tell you and won’t collect blood from you. The clinic will also inform you of any other blood problems they notice or if anything seems unusual. An occasional check of your blood quality could be the key to detecting a health problem before it becomes life-threatening.
One in two hundred people in the United States are affected by a medical condition called Hemochromatosis, and most don’t even know it. Hemochromatosis is a disease that causes iron overload and is listed as the most common genetic disease among Caucasians by the Mayo Clinic.
Committed blood donors recommend donation as a way to deplete the body’s extra iron deposits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that red blood cell elimination via blood donation is the preferred method for people with excess iron in the blood.
You may be shocked to realize that donating blood may have heart health benefits. Giving blood at least once a year could decrease the chance of a heart attack by eighty-eight percent, according to a study by the American Journal of Epidemiology. Relating to the iron issue again, the high levels in the blood constrict your blood vessels and allows more chances of a heart attack; draining those extra iron deposits by giving blood provides your blood vessels more room to operate.
The link between donating blood and lowering cancer risk is weak in an average, utterly healthy person. But research supports a lower cancer risk for blood donors with different diseases, hemochromatosis, for example.
Based on a report released by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, drawing blood (phlebotomy) is a method of iron depletion associated with a lower risk of cancer and mortality. The study focused on patients affected by the Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), which the Mayo Clinic describes as a common circulatory problem. Patients with PAD who donated blood regularly had a lower risk of developing cancer than those who did not.
Yet another hazard of iron overload is the health of your liver. The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that the hepatic expression of metabolic syndrome, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), has risen to epidemic proportions in recent years.
Research has linked excess iron to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis C, and other liver diseases and infections. Although many other factors are involved in these problems, donating blood can help alleviate some of these iron deposits and prevent additional liver problems.
While donating blood has several physical benefits, the most powerful health benefit is arguably in the psychological realm. Donating blood means that someone or many people somewhere will receive the help they desperately need.
Donating blood, especially regularly, can be similar to volunteer work. You give your time and blood to help strangers in need. However, if you go to a specific blood donation site each time, you will meet some employees who are also dedicating themselves to life-saving causes.
This type of regular, generous interaction has significant psychological advantages. Being out of your usual ambiance to do something great for somebody else is encouraging in the best way. As a result, being a volunteer has a positive impact on happiness. Volunteering also reduces the risk of depression and loneliness in people over sixty-five.
We strongly believe that the mental health bonus you receive from knowing you are supporting others is just as valuable as the physical health reward. When you roll up your sleeves and sit in the chair, you realize you are making a difference that makes you feel great.
Health benefits from donating blood are considerable, but the most vital part of the process is helping to save lives. Giving blood is good for you and even better for everyone who desperately needs the help.
Giving blood can be a pleasant and fantastic way to engage with your community. Whether you are participating with your school, company, or group of friends and family, donation of blood can often bring people together, not to mention you will be saving lives.
Besides finding a place to donate your blood, there may also be some requirements that decide whether or not you can contribute or not.
Donors can give blood every 56 days, with some exceptions. You must be healthy and feeling well before deciding to donate. You must be at least 16 years old and weigh 110 pounds or more to give your blood. You will not be permitted to contribute if you have low blood iron levels or certain diseases.
Donators may feel a little dizzy or nauseous after giving blood. You may need to lie down with your feet up until feeling well enough to return to your daily activities. You shouldn’t be alarmed if the needle site on your arm becomes bruised because it is typical and should clear up in a few days.
You should contact your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms after donating blood: numbness of the extremities, constant bleeding or irritation at the needle site, or extreme nausea or dizziness.
There are many opportunities to donate blood and make a difference in someone’s life. You never know how far your generosity can change or save someone’s life; also, it is an opportunity to have a quick check-up on your health and reduce various health risks.
You can go online and subscribe to blood donation emails and notifications or find out where blood donation events occur in your local area.
There is never a wrong time to make a change and become more actively involved in your community in helping others.
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This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.
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