The Health Benefits of Donating Blood

Every three seconds, someone needs a blood transfusion! 20% of recipients are children – many are cancer patients, accident victims or patients undergoing surgery. A small needle prick and a little of your time could transform you into a superhero. Yes, by donating blood you’ll be saving up to three human lives each time you donate! Isn’t it shocking that about 60% of the population are eligible to donate blood, yet less than 4% do!

June is National Blood Donor month. So, if you’re still in two minds about whether or not to donate blood, consider the unexpected health benefits as a donor. It’s time to roll up your sleeve and save a life – including yours. Here’s why:

You’ll get a mini-medical
You can donate blood only if you are fit enough to do so. Before every blood donation, you’ll get your iron (haemoglobin) level checked, and your blood pressure and pulse rate taken. This will be of great benefit to you. Any potential “red flags” will be discovered. Score!

Donating blood reduces your risk of heart disease and cholesterol
According to studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, blood donors are 33% less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease and 88% less likely to suffer a heart attack. The lowered health risks have to do with iron depletion. Iron has a significant impact on the body. High blood iron can cause a variety of symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, hardening of arteries, accelerated cholesterol oxidation, decreased libido and enlarged liver, to name a few. High levels of iron leads to free-radical damage in the body and has been linked to an increased risk of cancer as well.

When donating blood, you are removing 225 to 250mg of iron from your body, reducing your risk of health complications.
In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that those between the ages of 43 and 61 had fewer heart attacks and strokes when they had donated blood every six months.If you choose to give blood, you should not abandon other methods recommended for improving heart health. Changes in your diet and lifestyle prove to be the most effective way to stay healthy.

Donating blood burns calories
A one-time blood donation can burn up to 650 calories, as the body has to work hard to replenish itself. Although there are many benefits to donating blood just one time, the people who benefit from blood donations are regular donors. A donor can only give blood every 56 days.

Feeling the joy of saving a human life
Every time you donate blood, you can help up to three or four recipients. According to Time.com, a study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who volunteered unselfishly had a significantly reduced risk of mortality than those who never volunteer. What a wonderful, unselfish gift to give!

Most people donate whole blood. After donation, your blood is separated into its components (red blood cells, platelets and plasma) for distribution to local hospitals – ready to save lives! Go on … donate blood today. Embrace a healthy habit, head over to your local blood centre and give the gift of life.

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