Is it really worth it to donate your blood for someone else?
Are there any real benefits to donating your blood?
In this email, I dive straight in to find out if there are any benefits to volunteering to donate blood.
I think some of these findings may surprise you.
For example, it’s a known fact that the blood that one donates could mean the difference between life & death for the millions who need blood transfusion.
In fact, stats say 4.5 million Americans die because of the lack of adequate blood available for blood transfusion each year.
And yet, of the suitable individuals in America who could donate blood to save a life, less than 10% of them actually do so.
Here are some of the benefits and reasons why you need to start donating today.
Benefit #1 – Reduces your risk of Hemochromatosis
Hemochromatosis is a severe disorder occurring when there is an increase of iron build-up in the body.
It is also commonly referred to as iron overload.
Basically, this is when there is a high increase of iron in your body that overwhelms your system.
It can be devastating to the body, putting you at risk to diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, and also lead to liver damage & heart damage.
The good news is that giving of your blood can decrease your risk of these maladies significantly.
The truth is that we do need iron. In fact too little iron may lead to anaemia.
So like most things, the body needs the right amounts of iron in order to achieve optimum functioning.
More commonly, it is men who suffer from hemochromatosis.
They are more likely to suffer from iron overload than woman, typically because
- Men naturally tend to store more levels of iron in their body than women do, and,
- Women who are menstruating lose iron every month, which is not the case for men.
So in this instance, because of the more natural iron build-up in the body of men…
And the lack of iron release on a regular basis, makes men more at risk to contract hemochromatosis.
Also, it is hereditary. Which means if your grandparents or either of your parents suffered from hemochromatosis, chances are you’re likely to have it too.
Method to reduce hemochromatosis
I mentioned that blood donation (on a periodic basis) is a good way to decrease risk of iron build-up & related diseases.
Experts have concluded that it’s likely because of phlebotomies and it’s iron-decreasing effect, that may be key to why individuals who donate blood regularly have less risk & healthier hearts.
Benefit #2 – Your blood flow improves greatly
Giving of your blood regularly allows coagulation to occur.
Coagulation refers to the thickening of your blood (literally changing from liquid to more of a ‘gel’ type) and this improves blood flow.
In other words, your blood donation actually helps improve the thickness of the blood in your body so that there is enhanced flow.
Correct levels of coagulation (also known as clotting) is important because if your blood doesn’t coagulate, a simple scrape or cut could lead you to bleed to death.
So blood giving effects towards a healthier status of blood vessels and a healthier heart
Benefit #3 – You’re actually saving 3 lives
Just one pint of blood that has been donated is enough to save the lives of 3 people.
This is amazing considering that in America alone, every three seconds somebody needs blood.
If all blood donors offered to give blood two to four times yearly, there would be enough to prevent shortages.
Benefit #4 – You obtain a physical med check up
Before you donate blood, every donation volunteer gets a routine physical med check-up.
This includes checking of your blood pressure, temperature, hemoglobin, rate of your pulse.
They also take an analysis of your blood for harmful disorders such as HIV, syphilis, hepatitis (B and C), West Nile virus, and other diseases.
This is to make sure that the blood you give is actually in the right condition to be considered to needing patients.
But, this also give you feedback regarding your general health and body status.
Of course, this is not regarded as a permanent replacement for proper medical care, but could mean a quick health check that might pick out any ‘invisible’ disease that might be hiding in your body undetected.
Benefit #5 – Decreased visits to the hospital
Believe it or not, studies have shown that men who chose to give blood periodically are healthier than men who do not.
They enjoy decreased visits to the hospital, have fewer days of stay if they do find themselves at the hospital, and generally delight in a longer, healthier life.
Benefit #6 – Longer Life
Individuals who undertake to volunteer for unselfish reasons (ie. Chose to assist others rather than themselves ), appear to have longer life than those who choose to volunteer for selfish reasons.
Studies have supported this, revealing that individuals who were more altruistic in their giving intentions enjoyed a decrease in risk of mortality four years later (according to one study).
The study conductor deduced that those who volunteer from an inward motivation to help another versus those with more self-centred reasons, seem to be buffered from stress factors related to volunteering eg. Time or money constraints, absence of pay etc.
Donating blood has many unseen benefits.
These include curbing harmful hemochromatosis, improving your blood flow, and contributing to you living a longer, healthier life.
It’s important to realize that giving blood in not compulsory but rather something individuals can volunteer to do and are encouraged to do so.
Here are your next steps to take:
- Find out from your local blood centre when & where is their next blood drive initiative. This is so you can find out and prepare to go.
- Attend the blood drive initiative and donate. Remember that there are many benefits to donating blood that you can enjoy.
- Make a decision to donate blood at least 2 – 4 times a year. You will be saving lives and contributing to combat blood shortage in the country.
- If you want to, you can visit your local community blood centre and host a blood drive. It’s relatively easy to do and the blood centre will almost always agree.