In an earlier post on why you should donate blood, we stated the reasons why you should donate blood. One of the reasons stated is for health benefits. Many Nigerians run away from donating blood for many wrong reasons which are either superstitious or based on ignorance. It is important to know that just as blood is donated to save lives, there are also health benefits attached for you as a donor.
I’ll like to share with you some of the health benefits associated with blood donation for you as a donor.
1. Reduced risk of Hemochromatosis:
Hemochromatosis is a health condition that arises due to excess absorption of iron by the body, it is a metabolic disorder causing iron deposits in the body, also called bronze diabetes. For each unit of blood donated, you lose about one-quarter of a gram of iron, which is one of the best ways to avoid the health risks associated with iron overload .
2. You get a mini-physical/ check-up:
Before you give blood, you’ll first have to complete a quick physical (check-up) that measures your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and hemoglobin levels. Also, after your blood is collected, it will be sent to a lab where it will undergo different tests for infectious diseases. If anything comes back positive, you’ll be notified about it. This will keep you abreast of your health status. Although this does not mean you should stop going for your regular medical checkup, it is good for your peace of mind.
3. For a healthy heart and liver: In these days where there is high intake of mineral supplements and multivitamins, excess iron is absorbed in the body. Since the body can absorb only limited proportion of iron, excess iron get stored in the heart, liver and pancreas. This in turn increases the risk of cirrhosis, liver failure, damage to pancreas, and heart abnormalities. Blood donation helps in maintaining the iron levels and reduces the risk of various health ailments.
4. You may be less likely to have a heart attack: Regular blood donation may help your blood flow better and result in fewer arterial blockages. It can also reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
5. Production of new blood cells: Due to blood loss after donating blood, the body works to replenish the loss by stimulating the production of new blood cells, thus, helping in maintaining good health.
If you are wondering how often you could donate blood, experts say you must wait at least eight weeks (56 days) when you donate blood before you can repeat the process.
Also, in terms of age and sex, physicians say a donor must be of legal age, weigh at least 50kg (or 68kg for women) and be in good health. You should never donate blood if you suspect you might actually be sick or have been exposed to HIV or another virus.
Question: Why did you donate blood the first time you ever did? And if you have not, can you please share why in the comment section below. If you have questions, you can ask here.