Top 4 Benefits Of Donating Blood
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…even though there are benefits of donating blood that may be too tempting to call this venture entirely selfless.
A single bottle of blood donated can save up to three lives, and if you’ve ever saved that many lives, then you are no less than a superhero; after all, it takes courage, real heroism to face that fat needle.
According to the 2012 India report by the World Health Organisation, 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! The shelf life of donated blood is only between 32 to 45 days, which makes place for a need to refurbish bloodstock regularly.
But, are people donating blood regularly? No; the most common reasons being ‘lack of time’ or ‘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 surely want to do it all the more.
But first, let’s clarify some basic facts about blood donation.
Blood Donation: Myths Vs Facts
How much blood do you donate?
In a single session, an individual donates no more than 470-500 ml of blood, which is about 8-10% of the total blood in a human body. The body replaces this volume loss within 48 hours, so blood donation does not cause any harm to the body in the long run.
What to do before donating blood
- In the days leading up to the donation, it is ideal to eat nutritious foods rich in iron like spinach, eggs, beans, raisins, etc.
- The night before the donation, try and get 8 hours of sound sleep.
- Before the donation, have a hearty, balanced meal. Avoid fast food.
What to eat after donating blood
Once you’ve donated blood, it is critical to begin focusing on how you’ll help your body replace the loss at the earliest. To know what all foods are best for this purpose, click here.
Side effects of donating blood
There aren’t any serious side effects of donating blood, but a few temporary ones include:
- Arm pain or tingling
Here are the top 4 benefits of donating blood:
1. Helps the body get rid of excess iron:
When you donate one unit of blood, you lose a quarter of a gram of iron. You may think 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! Hemochromatosis is a condition that arises due to excessive iron in the blood.
Blood donors are known to be 88% 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 function, but an excess build-up 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 diet, emotional stress, radio frequency
exposure and high cholesterol is making our blood hypercoagulable, meaning that it’s thick,
increasing the risk of incidents of stroke and heart attack. Repeated blood donations may help this issue, and help blood flow better, possibly limit damage to blood vessels, and thus cause fewer arterial blockages.
3. Free health check-up!
Before every donation, the donors’ temperature, blood pressure, pulse, haemoglobin are checked.
Tests for HIV, Hepatitis A, B and C et cetera are also done. It may not be a replacement for medical care, but they sure give you a surprise glimpse into your health.
4. Helps you feel like a hero
Well, you are saving lives, just like heroes do! A single bottle of donated blood can save up to 3
lives. Don’t you feel excited already?
Make sure you donate blood only once in three months or more, depending on your individual health and haemoglobin level. Frequent donations may deplete your haemoglobin stores as the body wouldn’t get enough time to replenish it, which would deplete your health. Make sure you ask your medical practitioner, and get any remnant doubts out of your mind.
Donating blood is a good thing and you should be proud of yourself. 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 to 65 years of age, then this is the time to start.
Giving blood is giving life!