6 Surprising Health Benefits of Donating Blood

Donate blood, save lives!

Every three seconds, someone needs a blood transfusion!

Moreover, 20% of the recipients are children, cancer patients, accident victims or patients undergoing surgery who just need a little pint of your blood that could save their lives.

It’s shocking to say that though 60% of the population are eligible to donate blood, yet less than 4% do! Car accident victims, cancer patients need pints of blood that gets hard to obtain.

Since blood can’t be made or manufactured, these patients depend on blood donors for their lives. After a poll on the reasons why people hesitate giving blood, we found out a good number of reasons.

Though you’re considering donating blood but are unsure of the effect it will have on your body. Or maybe you’ve done it before and are curious about how it might impact you if you donate regularly. In any case, you may be surprised at some of the advantages. We consulted with health professionals to identify some of the biggest benefits of donating blood.

The benefits of giving blood

1. Giving blood can reveal potential health problems

While it isn’t the same thing as a trip to the doctor, donating blood can be another way to keep an eye on your cardiovascular health. You’ll receive a mini-physical prior to the blood draw, in which someone will check your pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, hemoglobin and more.  This can sometimes shed light on issues you didn’t even know about.

“If your blood is too low in iron, the clinic will tell you and won’t draw your blood. They will also inform you of any other blood issues they notice or if anything seems unusual. An occasional check up on your blood quality could be the key to spotting a health issue before it becomes life-threatening.

2. Giving blood can reduce harmful iron stores

One in every two hundred people in the U.S. is affected by a condition called hemochromatosis and most of them don’t even know it. Hemochromatosis is a disease that causes an iron overload and is labeled as the most common genetic disease.

Blood donation helps reduce the body’s extra iron stores and maintains optimum levels of iron in the body.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the removal of red blood cells by phlebotomy (or donating blood) is the preferred treatment for patients with excess iron in their blood.

3. Giving blood may lower your risk of suffering a heart attack

Donating blood at least once a year could reduce your risk of a heart attack by 88 percent, according to a study conducted by the American Journal of Epidemiology.*

High levels of iron in the blood constrict your blood vessels and create more risk of a heart attack. Depleting those extra iron deposits by donating blood gives your vessels more room to operate and flow

4. Giving blood may reduce your risk of developing cancer

In an average, completely healthy person, the link between giving blood and decreased cancer risk is slim. But research does support a reduced risk of cancer for blood donors with different maladies, one of which is hemochromatosis.

A study focused on patients affected by peripheral arterial disease (PAD) describes the patients affected with this disease had a common circulatory problem. PAD patients who regularly donated blood had a lower risk of developing cancer than those who did not.

5. Giving blood can help your liver stay healthy

Another danger of iron overload is the health of your liver. “In recent years, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the hepatic expression of metabolic syndrome, has reached epidemic proportions,” reports the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Research has linked too much iron with NAFLD, Hepatitis C and other liver diseases and infections. Though there are many other factors involved in these problems, donating blood can help relieve some of those iron stores and avoid extra issues in your liver.

6. Giving blood can help your mental state

While there are several physical benefits to donating blood, the most powerful health benefit is arguably in the psychological realm. Donating blood means that someone (or multiple people) somewhere will be getting the help they desperately need.

This kind of interaction has major psychological benefits. Getting out of your usual environment to do something good for someone else is stimulating in the best kind of way.  Volunteering has been shown to have positive effects on happiness. In people over 65-years-old, volunteering also reduces the risk of depression and loneliness.

Blood donation benefits everyone

The health benefits of donating blood are considerable—but of course, the most important part of the process is helping to save lives. Donating blood is good for you, and it’s even better for all the people who desperately need the help.

Donate blood, stay healthy and save lives!

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