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Benefits of Donating Blood…for the Donor?!?

Yes! You heard me correct, there are many benefits of donating blood; especially for men and post menopausal women!
We all know that donating blood is very beneficial to the recipients.  But do you know how much?  Check this out…

Benefits of donating blood

  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day.
  • A total of 30 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S. (2006).
  • The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.
  • The blood type most often requested by hospitals is Type O.  Type O-negative blood (red cells) can be transfused to patients of all blood types. It is always in great demand and often in short supply.
  • The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs.
  • Sickle cell disease affects more than 80,000 people in the U.S., 98 percent of whom are African American. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.
  • More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.

So what are the benefits of donating blood?    When you are donating blood, you are removing some of the iron the blood has in it. High iron levels in your blood can increase your risk of heart disease. Iron is known to speed the oxidation process of cholesterol, which is thought to possibly increase damage to your (very important) arteries.  This can lead to the all know CVD; cardiovascular disease and make you more susceptible to a heart attack, stroke, etc. Men who donate benefit even more than women simply because women have monthly mensuration which releases iron.

According to Victor Herbert, M.D in a CNN article., a hematologist at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, there are normally about 1,000 milligrams of iron stored in the average adult mans body but only about 300 milligrams in a premenopausal womans. Once women stop menstruating, however, their iron levels and their heart disease risk begin to climb, eventually matching that of men.

So how does donating blood work?  I have to be honest, I have never donated…and I have blood type…wait for it…O-.  Yep, most needed, most often in short supply, and if that was not enough, here comes my guilt…

  • Only 7 percent of people in the U.S. have O-negative blood type. O-negative blood type donors are universal donors as their blood can be given to people of all blood types.
  • Type O-negative blood is needed in emergencies before the patient’s blood type is known and with newborns who need blood.
  • Children being treated for cancer, premature infants and children having heart surgery need blood and platelets from donors of all types, especially type O-.

They had me at newborns…

No worries, I am making the trip to the blood bank!

So here is how it all works; or so they tell me.  Guess I will find out soon enough.

  • Donating blood is a safe process. A sterile needle is used only once for each donor and then discarded.
  • Blood donation is a simple four-step process: registration, medical history and mini-physical, donation and refreshments.
  • Every blood donor is given a mini-physical, checking the donor’s temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin to ensure it is safe for the donor to give blood.
  • The actual blood donation typically takes less than 10-12 minutes. The entire process, from the time you arrive to the time you leave, takes about an hour and 15 min.
  • The average adult has about 10 pints of blood in his body. Roughly 1 pint is given during a donation.
  • A healthy donor may donate red blood cells every 56 days, or double red cells every 112 days.
  • A healthy donor may donate platelets as few as 7 days apart, but a maximum of 24 times a year.
  • All donated blood is tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and other infectious diseases before it can be released to hospitals.
  • Information you give to the American Red Cross during the donation process is confidential. It may not be released without your permission except as directed by law.

I could not believe it!  The actual needle part only takes 10 to 15 minutes!  I had no idea; they should advertise this.

So let me get this straight… I donate, I loose iron I don’t need, gain heart health, get a free physical, free snacks, (adult time…I am a mom of 3 wonderful children), and I could save up to 3 lives…why have I not done this.  After all I have been through labor 3 times; this has to be easier!

Well, I hope to see you there!

Donating blood

Have a Heart Healthy Day!
Kristi Krouse

About kristi

Kristi Krouse owns Heart Smart CPR, an American Heart Association Training Site in Austin Texas. The purpose of Heart Smart CPR is to teach individuals life-saving skills for both medical and non-medical providers in a relaxed yet concise manor. Kristi is dedicated to helping to get everyone certified by their deadline.

You can find out more about Heart Smart CPR here

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Have a Heart Healthy Day!

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