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Benefits Of Donating Blood

Fitness
Lakshmi Devan
3 min read

Benefits Of Donating Blood

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A selfless act that actually comes with (secretly) selfish reasons. We are letting you in on the secret.

There was a time when being the son of Odin, getting bitten by a spider, or being an alien from Krypton made you a superhero. But times have changed, and now only a prick of a needle and a few minutes of your time can do it. A single bottle of donated blood can save up to 3 lives, and if you’ve ever saved that many lives, then you are no less than a superhero! After all, it takes courage and real heroism to face that fat needle, and give selflessly.  

According to the 2012 India report by the World Health Organization, only 9 million units of blood are collected every year, when the need is for 12 million units. That means India is facing a shortage of 3 million units, each year! The shelf life of donated blood is only between 32-45 days, which makes a case for a need to refurbish blood stock regularly. But are people donating blood regularly? No, with the most common reasons being ‘lack of time’, and ‘fear of needles’. But I sincerely hope YOU have your superhero costume ready, because when you find out how what you are doing to help others is helping you too, you will want to do it all the more. Ka-ching!
  1. Helps the body get rid of excess iron – When you donate 1 unit of blood, you lose a quarter of a gram of iron. You may think that that is a bad thing, because low iron levels are known to cause anaemia, fatigue, and reduced immunity, but having too much iron can be worse! Blood donors are known to be 88 per cent less likely to suffer from heart attacks, and this is thought to be because of the balanced iron levels. Iron is obviously a very vital mineral for our body’s functioning, but an excess of the same is known to cause oxidative damage, leading to accelerated ageing, heart attacks, strokes, cancer etc. The trick is to donate regularly and smartly, with proper medical consultation.
  2. Better blood circulation – Our lifestyle, with all the anxiety, smoking, high-sugar diets, emotional stress, radio frequency exposure, and high cholesterol is making our blood hypercoagulable. That means that the blood is thick, increasing the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Repeated blood donations may help this issue, help blood flow better, limit damage to blood vessels, and thus, cause fewer arterial blockages.
  3. Free health check-up! – Before every donation, the donor’s temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and haemoglobin are checked. Tests for HIV, hepatitis A, B, and C etc. are also done. It may not be a replacement for medical care, but they sure give you a surprise glimpse into your health.
Make sure you donate blood only once in 3 months, or less, depending on your health and haemoglobin levels. Frequent donations may deplete your haemoglobin stores, as the body won’t get enough time to replenish it, which will further deplete your health. Check with your medical practitioner, and get any remnant doubts out of your mind.

All major educational institutions in India now have blood donation drives, and corporate organisations are catching up fast. Blood units are sold at exorbitant prices at hospitals because of the widely prevalent shortage, and every year, thousands of unfortunate patients lose their lives, not being able to procure blood for transfusion at the said prices. If the thought of giving back to the society has ever crossed your mind, and if you’re between 18-65 years of age, then this is the time to start. Giving blood is giving life!

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