When’s the last time you donated blood? Unless you’ve been in a situation where blood donation was life-saving, or a group you belong to hosts a blood drive, perhaps you’ve never given it much thought. If that’s the case, you’re not alone. Stats show fewer than 10% of us who could donate blood actually do it. Yet, someone needs blood every 2 seconds in the United States!
It’s obvious that donating blood is a huge health benefit to others. But, did you know there are also health benefits for the donor? Since January is National Blood Donor Month, I’m sharing 4 health reasons to become a donor…
1. Stimulates cell production
Science was never my best subject, but even I can understand the body works to replenish blood after you’ve donated. That means new red blood cells are produced – which is good news. This stimulation of new cells can help our bodies run more efficiently which impacts things like wounds healing faster or increased likelihood of your body fending off chronic diseases.
2. Helps with iron balance
We need iron in our blood, and you’re probably aware of health issues surrounding low iron levels (hello anemia). But, too much iron is also a health concern and donating blood can help balance out higher levels. Iron overload can contribute to…
• Organ damage – excess iron tends to get stored in the liver or other organs including intestines and lungs, which is not healthy.
• Cancer risk – higher iron content is associated with a greater potential for developing cancer.
• Blockage in blood vessels – too much iron in the blood causes thickness and allows cholesterol to be oxidized, which can lead to blockage. This brings me to the next benefit to giving blood…
3. Reduces risk of heart disease and stroke
Since donating blood can help with blood thickness and flow, it can improve overall cardiovascular health. The American Journal of Epidemiology cites a study that found blood donors are 88% less likely to suffer a heart attack.
Additionally, the Journal of American Medical Association published a study stating participants (ages 43 to 61) who’d donated blood every six months had fewer heart attacks and strokes. As previously noted, I’m no scientist, but if studies indicate a chance of better heart health among blood donors AND it’s a definite help to others – sounds like a win-win to me.
4. You get a free mini health screening
When you give blood, expect to provide a brief medical history and receive a “mini-physical” to check your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and hemoglobin levels. After you donate and before your blood is used, over 10 additional tests are run. If anything comes back positive (infectious disease, high cholesterol, etc.) you’ll be notified. Our freshbenies CEO was alerted to extremely low iron levels which, after a few tests, led to a diagnosis of Celiac disease – all that from an annual blood drive!
Of course, the BEST reason to donate blood is it saves lives. From accident victims and premature babies to patients undergoing chemo – donated blood saves lives every day. If it can provide a few health benefits in the process, why shouldn’t we make time to donate? Click here to find a Red Cross blood drive or schedule an appointment near you.
Do you give blood regularly? Have you been impacted as a blood donor or recipient? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.