Essentially, no one expects to gain or earn anything in exchange for blood donation apart from the pride of helping others. However, knowing that the blood donor is also contributing to his own life and health by donating blood to help those who greatly need blood, can encourage people to blood donation. In this article, we will be touching upon the health benefits of blood donation.
The only source that can manufacture blood is the human body. Apart from that, blood can’t be produced by means of, for instance, a machine. Therefore, if an individual needs blood for certain reasons ( accidents, cancer treatment, blood diseases, surgeries, skin burn … ) this needed blood has to be supplied from the blood donated by donors. Therefore, in the simplest terms, blood donation is a lifesaving act.
According to the Red Cross; 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed in the U.S. Not only in the U.S.A but also people from all corners of the world need a blood transfusion to hold on to life.
It is obvious that blood donation is a sacred behaviour given the fact that it saves lives. In addition to that, doctors are strongly emphasising the health benefits of blood donation for donors.
The followings are the science-backed health benefits of donating blood.
Most often, we hear about the ailments that occur due to iron deficiency in the body. The situation is the total opposite this time. This name (Hemochromatosis) might be too foreign to nearly all of us, that is why we should simplify it. Basically, hemochromatosis is a health condition that occurs in the body when, for whatever reason, iron is excess in the body stores.
Too much of a good thing is bad! Based on this idiom, when the iron is excess in the body, some ailments emerge and cause people harm. This health condition (Hemochromatosis) is generally caused by genetics, alcohol abuse and diet.
One of the best and healthiest ways to reduce this accumulated iron from the body is to give blood. Regular blood donation prevents unnecessary ( extra ) iron accumulation in the body.
2- Healthier Heart
Presumably, one of the most valuable benefits of donating blood is to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. There are scientific studies that consolidate the connection between heart health and regular blood donation.
One of these studies carried out in 2013 suggests that blood donation may lower the risk of a heart attack. The relation between heart health and blood donation is attributed to the prevention of iron accumulation in the body thanks to regular blood donation.
A pathology doctor: Robert A. DeSimone from Weill Cornell Medicine confirms the fact that regular blood donation can reduce heart attack risk in the case haemoglobin is too high in the body.
3- Check your Overall Health
If you are a regular blood donator, you must be familiar with the procedure that you go through before giving your blood.
At the outset, your blood is tested for many diseases— that can be identified through a blood test —by the staff members. Not only the blood test but also physical check-up that includes pulse– blood pressure– body temperature is carried out.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: before each donation, the presence of the following diseases is checked in the blood. If the blood is free from these diseases and if you are physically eligible to give blood, the donation can take place.
• Hepatitis B
° Hepatitis C
° West Nile virus (WNV)
• Zika Virus (ZIKV)
° Treponema pallidum
• T-lymphotropic Virus Types I and II
The conclusion is that getting checked your blood before blood donation can help us realise a health problem in our body that we are unaware of. Therefore, blood donation also means monitoring your overall health.
4- Lower Cancer Risk
Researchers have found that those who do donate blood at certain intervals have less risk of developing some types of cancer.
Scientists attribute this claim to the reduction of the excess iron stored in the body as a result of blood donation. When the body gets rid of excess iron, the chance of cancers such as liver, lung and stomach reduces accordingly.
In this sense, even though your aim is to help people by donating your blood, you can also reduce your cancer risk by donating blood.
5- Healthier Liver
Short note: The liver is the largest internal organ in the body. Above we have talked about the potential risks of excess iron in the body. However, we did not touch on where this excess iron accumulates. The liver, heart and pancreas are the organs excess iron is stored.
To be able to protect these 3 organs against the disease caused by excess iron, the excess iron should be removed from the body. As repeated above, regular blood donation is one of the best and healthiest ways to do it.
A thorough scientific study displays the potential relationship between excess iron and diseases – ailments, such as hepatitis C, liver cancer, and oxidative stress. As such, regular blood donation may bring prosperity to your liver by preventing the diseases in question.
6- New Blood Cells
After you have donated blood or you have lost blood due to any reason, for instance, a cut, your body starts replenishing the blood cells you have lost. The refreshed and healthy blood cells rejuvenate your body, making you feel healthy.
Please note that more blood cells ( produced by the body after the blood donation ) mean a higher oxygen levels in the body.
7- Weight Loss
After the blood has been taken from the body, the body is warned over the decreased number of red blood cells. In order to replace the lost blood, the body activates the stem cells. While performing this process, the body burns calories.
But, we should not donate blood more than the body can tolerate in order to lose weight. This may cause serious health problems.
8- Happier You
Last but, by no means, least! Psychological benefits of blood donation !! So far, we have talked about how your body and physical health benefit from blood donation. But this time, the issue is emotional and psychological.
Knowing that somewhere, someone who you never heard about and met can hold on to life with blood that you donated, must be one of the reliving feelings. You donated your blood even if you did not have to, in order to save lives and help others.
According to doctors; those behaviours and interactions reduce stress levels as well as prevent us from depression thus increasing longevity.
Tarkan is an experienced health writer ( currently more than 600 articles ) and also the founder of this website namely www.neededforhealth.com. His expertise in health stems from in-depth medical research and knowledge which he obtained over the course of many years.
Tarkan enjoys sharing factual knowledge on health, psychology and nutrition. He always aims to deliver evidence-based recommendations, provide links to related scientific studies.