10 Surprising Health benefits of Blood Donation

by Bharti
blood

Each and every life on this earth is precious. Especially if it happens to be our near and dear ones we are ready to sacrifice anything in exchange of their life. Every life on this earth is valuable and needs to be attended to when the situation demands. Due to certain kinds of illness, accidents or injuries the level of blood may drop in an individual. This causes low oxygen levels (hypoxia) in the cells resulting in death in severe cases. In such cases judicious donation of blood can save needy lives. Each year lakhs of people rely on receiving blood and blood products (plasma, white blood cells,) just to stay alive. Blood Donation is not only beneficial for the receiver but also favors the donor in various ways. By this single act a person fulfills-

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  • individual responsibility
  • develops social awareness, and
  • Receives financial rewards.

Let’s observe the impact of blood donation one by one.

Short term impact

After blood donation, the red cells are replenished at an astounding rate (within 48hrs of donation). As the body receives signal that overall oxygen levels is low (due to loss of red cells) it starts producing red cells, white cells and platelets (all components of blood). Within 2-3 months the entire blood components are produced. Thus regenerative power of the body cells are activated.

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Long term impact

Physiological

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  1. Control cardiac problems– Regular blood donation helps to thwart away cardiaovascular events like stroke etc. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, 88% of blood donors are less likely to suffer from heart attack. This might be because regular donation regulates blood flow by reducing its viscosity resulting in less damage to blood vessels.
  2. Regulates Iron levels– Blood donation also regulates iron levels in the body. Iron is an important for production of red blood cells. However, too much iron build up in the body (hemochromatosis) can harm the oxygen carrying capacity of blood. It can also deposit in different organs like liver, heart and pancreas resulting in malfunction of the organs. Men tend to store more iron in their bodies than women since women tend to lose iron during menstruation, bleeding or pregnancy. Thus regular blood donation checks the iron levels in the body.
  3. Reduces Cancer Risk– Sometimes excess iron in the body can lead to development of certain type of cancer. Such type of cancer could be prevented by regular blood donation. According to a study published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Phlebotomy (the process of drawing blood) was found to be an iron reduction method that is associated with lower cancer risk and mortality.
  4. Health Screening– Before blood donation an individual undergoes medical checkup to assess their health condition. Physical examination and blood test are mandatory before giving blood. In such circumstances hidden health issues could be assessed and addressed accordingly. These health issues could be blood pressure related or blood count specific or blood borne diseases like HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C etc.
  5. Regulates body weight– Exercise can never replace anything else for burning calories. However blood donation burns about 650 calories per donation according to the St. Mary’s Medical center, Blue Springs, MO. Thus body weight regulation could be a beneficial aspect at times.
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Social

  • Humility– Blood donation makes us humble. Nothing is important more than saving life. The very act of sacrificing a part of us for the sake of saving life makes us more modest, grateful towards life. Money can buy blood from the blood bank but life blooms only in the presence of blood.
  • Social Awareness– Blood donation yields respect and appreciation from the society in the long run. We tend to earn good will from the society. It makes us more morally and socially responsible person and appreciates life such that we become more mature in out thought and action. Most of the blood loss in seen during accidents due to reckless driving. Blood donation instills ethics in us indirectly.
  • Optimism– The ability to make a person survive in turn instills in us the importance of life. We can indirectly get rid of mental depression, suicidal tendency because one act of kindness by us brings joy to the receiver which in turn induces positivity in the donor mindset. Small acts of kindness go a long way in building a stable and secure society.

Financial

  • Awards and Honors– Some hospitals offer small tokens, refreshments like fruit juices, biscuits and other eatables immediately after blood donation. Sometimes individual receive financial benefits from the family of the receiver in case of emergency. Thus in order to build up blood stores in blood banks numerous freebies are given out by the hospitals, government centres, which are mutually benefitting for both the donor and recipient.

In certain organizations individuals actively involved in community service like voluntary blood donation are applauded with awards and honors in the form of financial perks to boost their morale. Individuals belonging to NSS and Red Cross Society, command lot of love and respect in job service sectors.

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Blood donation is a gift of life. Every year about 4 crore units of blood are required of which only 40 lakh units of blood are available. More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day. Sickle cell anemia patients require blood transfusion regularly. The most common blood type requested by hospitals in Type O. The actual blood donation takes about 10-12 mins. A person can leave the hospital in one and half hours after donating blood. The average adult has about 1o units of blood in his body. Roughly only 1 unit of blood is requested for donation. Every year on 14th June all over the world, World Blood Donor Day is celebrated to thank blood donors for their gift of life.

Donate blood and save other life!

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