Blood donation is a major concern to society as donated blood is lifesaving for individuals who need it. There is a shortage of active blood donors to meet the need for increased blood demand. Globally, approximately 80 million units of blood are donated each year. Blood donation could therefore be recommended that voluntary blood donations as often as possible may be beneficial to the donors in terms of thrombotic complications and efficient blood flow mechanisms.
What Is Blood Donation?
Blood donation refers to the process of collecting, testing, preparing, and storing blood and blood components. It occurs when a person voluntarily has blood drawn, which is then used for transfusions or made into bio-pharmaceutical medications. Blood donors donate whole blood, plasma or blood components and do not receive any monetary compensation for their contribution. The blood is usually stored in a blood bank, medical units or in the Red Cross Society’s custody for those who need transfusions. This ensures blood quality can be guaranteed and is conducive to the health and safety of the recipient.
The Basic Requirements For A Donor
- Donors must be at least 18 or older to donate whole blood.
- Males must weigh over 50 Kg and females must weigh at least 45 Kg.
- Donors should be healthy.
- If donors have previously suffered from Hepatitis, syphilis, gonorrhoea, HIV/AIDS, heart diseases, or tuberculosis, they are unable to donate blood.
- If donors have participated in any homosexual activities recently, drug abuse, or have been with multi sexual partners, they are also ineligible to donate blood.
Things To Know Before You Donate
There are some important things to know before you donate blood:
- You need to provide information about medical conditions and any medications you’re taking. These may affect your eligibility to donate blood.
- You must wait at least 8 weeks between whole blood donations and 16 weeks between double red cell donations.
- Platelet donations can be made every 7 days, up to 24 times per year.
The following are some suggestions to help you prepare for donating blood:
- Drink an extra 16 ounces of water before your appointment.
- Eat a healthy meal that’s low in fat.
- Wear a short-sleeved shirt or a shirt with sleeves that are easy to roll up
Precautions To Take After Donating Blood
Blood donation is generally safe for healthy adults. New, sterile equipment is used for each donor, so there’s no risk of contracting disease. But donors should still be mindful post blood donation.
- Some people may feel nauseous, lightheaded, or dizzy after donating blood. If this happens, it should only last a few minutes. You can lie down with your feet until you feel better.
- You may also experience some bleeding at the site of the needle. Applying pressure and raising your arm for a couple of minutes will usually stop this. You may develop a bruise at the site.
Benefits Of Blood Donation
One donation can save as many as three lives, and someone in the world needs blood every two seconds. It turns out that donating blood doesn’t just benefit recipients. There are health benefits for donors, too.
Donating blood has benefits for your emotional and physical health. According to a report by the Mental Health Foundation, helping others can:
- Reduce stress
- Improve your emotional well-being
- Benefit your physical health
- Help get rid of negative feelings
- Provide a sense of belonging and reduce isolation
- Blood donation helps in lowering the risk of cancer. By donating blood, the iron stores in the body are maintained at healthy levels. A reduction in the iron level in the body is linked with low cancer risk
- Blood donation reduced the risk of hemochrombtosis. Hemochrombtosis is a health condition that arises due to excess absorption of iron by the body.
- 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.
Does Donating Blood Lower Your Risk Of Heart & Liver Diseases?
Blood donation is beneficial in reducing the risk of heart and liver ailments caused by the iron overload in the body. Intake of an iron-rich diet may increase the iron levels in the body, and since only limited proportions can be absorbed, excess iron gets stored in heart, liver, and pancreas. This, in turn, increases the risk of cirrhosis, liver failure, damage to the pancreas, and heart abnormalities like irregular heart rhythms. Blood donation helps in maintaining the iron levels and reduces the risk of various health ailments.
How Often Can You Donate Blood?
One has 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.
Blood transfusion can save the life of:
- Women who suffer complications during childbirth.
- People who suffer traumatic injuries from being in a car accident.
- Shooting or stabbing victims.
- Victims of natural disasters, including earthquakes.
- Surgery patients.
- Patients with haemophilia, thalassemia, sickle cell disease or cancer.