Blood transfusion saves the lives of numerous people on a daily basis.
You may think that donating blood is only beneficial to the recipient. That is not true as blood donors also avail themselves to numerous benefits if they donate blood.
It is worthy to note that, as human blood cannot be manufactured, people are the only source of it. As such, it is quite important to donate blood as you may just be saving a person’s life who needs your blood.
Blood donations should be done in blood banks, clinics, or hospitals. Equally important is to ensure you are in good health to avoid any post-transfusion issues for the recipient of your blood.
A person must be at least 17 years of age and weight more than 45kgs to be able to donate blood. Furthermore, a gap period of 56 days should be allowed before a healthy person can donate blood again in order to allow the donor’s blood to replenish.
Below are various benefits of donating blood;
1. Helps Balance Iron Levels
Iron is important in our body, within the hemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. If we have a high level of iron in our bodies, it could bring up disorders such as abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, and loss of appetite.
2. Improves Blood Flow
Donating blood helps us avoid hypercoagulation, and allows blood to flow more easily. Hypercoagulation is the increase in the production of fibrin in the blood, forming small clots in the capillaries.
Patients with this condition can be seen with very small brown spots on the abdomen (known as spider veins). However, these clots can also be lodged in the brain, muscles or bone marrow. In the case that they are lodged in the main arteries, they end up in the long term, obstructing these arteries.
3. Protects The Heart
This is another benefit of donating blood. An excess iron, in the blood, could accelerate the cholesterol’s oxidation, damage the arterial walls and thicken the blood. Studies have suggested that patients who donate blood are up to 88% less likely to suffer heart attacks.
In addition, according to research carried out at the Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol (Catalonia), it’s reported that excess iron causes patients to reject, more easily, treatments for heart conditions.
4. Donating Blood Helps Prevent Cancer
Previously it was believed that donating blood could increase the likelihood of cancer, but today the opposite has been demonstrated. On this occasion, iron again comes to light. According to a study in Boston, later published in the New England Journal of Medicine, there’s a direct correlation between elevated iron levels and the appearance of cancers of the colon, kidneys, gallbladder, and esophagus. Another study states that donating blood once or twice a year significantly decreases the probability of developing cancer in general.
5. Protects Our Liver
The liver is a fundamental part of the body’s processes. Actively, it improves metabolic processes in relation to vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. The liver is also involved in the process of transforming the glucose that we consume into glycogen. It also helps in the storage process of this glycogen, as well as the vitamins and minerals. Excess iron can greatly affect this organ, and one can get cirrhosis or liver failure. If we donate blood, we decrease the possibility of the liver and pancreas being adversely affected.
6. It’s A Free Medical Check-Up
Not everyone can donate blood. Before doing so, the individuals must undergo a rigorous series of tests to determine whether they are able to donate their blood. This involves a series of tests that are done at the heart level and their blood, to rule out the presence of diseases and harmful agents. This greatly benefits the donors because thanks to these tests, they can be warned of the presence of diseases or any health condition.
7. Burns Calories
There’s high consumption of calories when donating blood. On the one hand, the body consumes a lot of calories during the extraction. Besides that, our body must make a great effort to reproduce the blood it has lost.
When the human body loses 1 liter of blood, it burns up to 1300 Kcal to recover the lost blood. In a donation, the standard amount of blood drawn is 450 ml, so the body would burn 660 Kcal and it would take 2 to 3 months to recover.
8. We Are Saving Lives
If just one person donates blood, he/she can save up to 5 lives, isn’t it amazing? The blood that is donated can be used in two ways, A direct transfusion can be made in the first place. The other way is by dividing the blood into its components, such as plasma or albumin. Then, the medics can use those components according to the patients’ needs.
When we donate blood we’re really bringing a unique benefit to the recipient, as there’s no substitute for blood. Even a newborn child can benefit since there are few requirements that must be met (such as the Rh factor). The blood can even be stored in “Blood Banks” and then used later. To store it for some time, they place certain stabilizing components in it.
9. New Blood Cells Are Formed
The body strives to replace all the components it has lost such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets after the blood extraction. This replenishment makes our bloodstream form a whole new army of cells, which is an improvement on the body in general. Furthermore, if the blood before was thick, it may tend to flow more easily after blood donation.
10. Helps In Weight Loss
Regular blood donation helps regulate our weight. Both the extraction process and the replacement of the blood supposes a considerable consumption of calories. In addition, to help with this process, the body tends to accelerate its metabolism, which results in greater fat burning and, therefore, a decrease in weight. Of course, we must remember that we cannot make it too frequent as we must allow the blood cells to replenish.
11. Helps Prevents Hemochromatosis
Hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder. With this condition, the body tends to absorb too much iron from food, and our bodies may suffer from all the conditions that can cause excess iron. All the extra iron that we absorb, can be stored in the pancreas, the liver, the testicles, (The ovaries in the case of women), the skin, or the joints. This disease can be inherited, but in some cases, it can be developed if the individual suffers alcoholism, anemia or other disorders. If we donate blood regularly, it could help to prevent an iron overload in our bodies.
12. Psychological Benefits
In addition to all the benefits from the medical point of view, one of the most important benefits of donating blood is for our minds. Giving blood means helping others, bringing hope to a person in need. This action of being useful to another human being reinforces our own self-esteem and gives us a feeling of fulfillment.
13. Helps Prevent Diabetes
Blood donors are more sensitive to insulin. Blood donation can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes which is quite prevalent in obese people or people with a sedentary lifestyle. The Center for Biomedical Research in Network-Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn, Spain) conducted a study with 30 patients that were divided into 2; one of the groups donated blood 3 times in 6 weeks. People who donated blood reduced their glucose levels and accelerated their metabolism considerably.
14. Improves Your Emotional State
Donating blood, without a doubt, improves the emotional state. The immediate satisfaction you feel can make you really happy. You know that not only are you improving your quality of life, but you are also helping others. All this makes you feel good and allows you to release the stress.
15. We’ll Live Longer
This is a benefit that is more social than physical. According to some experts, blood donations can extend life for up to 4 more years. The key to increasing life expectancy lies in altruism. People who help others for pleasure and not in exchange for an economic benefit tend to suffer fewer levels of anxiety and stress and, therefore, live much more.
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