Blood Donation: Health Benefits and What more to know?
Blood is the most valuable gift that we can ever give to anyone. It might be a small contribution from us but it’s a lifesaving act for people with blood loss in case of accidents, surgeries, pregnancy, chronic anemia associated with sickle cell disease, thalassemia, aplastic anemia, leukemia, bleeding disorders, and serious infections associated with white blood cells or cancers.
Health Benefits of Donating Blood
1. Lowers the risk of Heart Diseases
Long-term and high-frequency blood donations are reported to reduce the comorbidities associated with cardiovascular disease.5
It simultaneously improves lipid profile by eliminating LDL (Bad Cholesterol) from blood.6
2. Reduce Blood Pressure
Regular blood donation also reduces blood pressure in Hypertensive. This noble act of blood donation can reduce your cost for the treatment of Hypertension and simultaneously you contribute to community health care.7
3. Burn Calories/ Weight management
You may burn up to 650 calories at a time by donating blood.
Also, your weight evaluation is held before blood donation. Therefore, you can know whether you are obese or underweight and then make the required effort to stay fit.
4. Therapy for patients with hemochromatosis (Excess iron)
Phlebotomy or Venipuncture or bloodletting is a medical treatment for those with an excess of iron in their blood. This excess iron if not removed from blood can cause multiple organ failures.
The blood units removed therapeutically from the patient can be provided for transfusion into others if the donor meets the eligibility criteria.3
5. Reduce the Risk of cancer
Blood donation is reported to reduce the risk of cancers of the liver, lung, colon, stomach, and esophagus, which are promoted by the excess of iron.4
So blood donation can positively rescue you from the risk of cancer.
6. Free Health Screening
You are provided with free health screening for your pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, hemoglobin, or any infection before blood donation.
Here are some doubts which strike our minds with the thought of donating blood:
1. How much blood will be taken out of me at a time?
During a regular donation, around 470ml of whole blood is drawn. This is about 8% of the average adult’s blood volume.
The body restores this volume within 1-2 days and stocks up RBCs in 10 to 12 weeks.
2. Who can give blood and how frequent?
According to WHO guidelines 17 yrs - 65 yrs is the appropriate age to donate blood. The procedure is relatively painless and all safety measures are taken care of while accepting blood.
A Healthy donor whose blood is free of any infection can give blood regularly every four months.2
3. Who is not recommended for blood donation?
- A person is anemic, not feeling well
- Body temperature above 99.5 0 F
- Whose weight is below 45 kg
- Hemoglobin less than 12.5 g/dL
- Pregnant or lactating women
- A patient with certain medical conditions where blood loss can be dangerous
- Heart and Cancer patients
- Should not have been treated for malaria in the last 3 months
- If you are under certain medications or antibiotics
- Suffering from any Sexually transmitted disease (HIV, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Genital herpes, Gonorrhea, HPV, Hepatitis A, B, and C).
- Those who are addicted to analgesics, depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens.
- If your tattoo/piercing is less than 3 months old due to the risk of spreading HIV, Hepatitis B, and C.1
- Your eligibility to donate blood is also confirmed by the professionals at the blood donation sites.
- All the blood donations are screened for infections of HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and syphilis before use.
4. Certain medical conditions with which you can still donate blood:
- Seasonal allergies, unless the symptoms are severe.
- 24 hours after you took the antibiotic.
- 48 hours after you recovered from a cold or flu.
- Your pulse, blood glucose levels, and blood pressure levels are in the normal range.
5. Can I give blood after the COVID-19 vaccination?
As per guidelines of the National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC), released on 5th May 2021, the deferral period of 28 days post-COVID 19 vaccination is recommended.
There is no deferral time for eligible donors who have received RNA-based COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca, Janssen/J&J, Moderna, Novavax, or Pfizer.8
As per revised guidelines of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 2020, a temporary deferral of 14 days is recommended for donors with a history of non-live vaccination and 28 days for donors with a history of live vaccination.9
Therefore, a person with vaccination of – Cholera (28 days), Typhoid (depends upon live or inactive vaccine), Diptheria (14 days), Tetanus (14 days), Plague (28 days), Gammaglobulin (14 days), and Rabies vaccination in last 1 year is not recommended for blood donation.
6. What foods should I eat before and after donating blood?
Prepare yourself for blood donation, by keeping yourself self-hydrated and eating plenty of nutritional food.
It’s important to consume plenty of water a day before blood donation, 10 glasses for men and 8 for women.
Have 3 glasses of water 3 hrs before the blood donation act.
Prefer savory options for food. Also, avoid strenuous exercises and have good sleep a day before blood donation.
Usually, Blood donation camps provide refreshments to the donors after donation on the site. You can quickly grab water or juice on your way out to maintain the blood volume and electrolytic imbalance. Keep your body well hydrated after donation and have your normal meals to get adequate energy.
Here is the list of food to eat after blood donation
Spinach, Sweet potatoes, Peas, Broccoli
Whole-wheat bread, rye bread
Pasta, wheat, bran cereals, cornmeal, oats, rice
Berries, kiwi, mangoes, watermelon, Oranges, tomatoes
Raisins, dates, figs, prunes, apricot, Peaches
Double beans, white beans, kidney beans
Here is the list of some things to avoid before donating blood
Fried food items rich in trans and saturated fats
Calcium-rich foods items: milk, cheese, and yogurt
Caffeinated drinks: tea, coffee, soft drinks
7. Where can I donate blood?
Blood donation drives are organized by various hospitals and organizations across India. If your eligibility meets the above criteria, then you can enroll and schedule your blood donation and encourage others also for this life-saving act.
Here is the list of Blood Donation Organizations in India where you can enroll as a donor, schedule your donation, find a blood donor, locate a blood bank near you and also follow scheduled blood donation camps nearby you:
Remember, there is never too much blood stored in the blood donation bank due to its constant requirement. And not a single fraction of it is wasted. The fractions unsuitable for transfusions are used for research.
Therefore, a regular supply of blood by donations is needed to ensure that blood is always available whenever and wherever it is needed.
A single donation from your side can gift a new life to some needy.
Above all, Blood donation is a generous act toward mankind.
Experience the positive change in yourself after blood donation.