What are the blood donation benefits and risks?
Blood donation benefits and risks:
Blood donation benefits and risks are going to discuss here.Thousands of people need daily donations of blood and blood products to keep them healthy and alive.
A person will need a blood transfusion if the amount of blood in the body decreased due to an accident, or if he suffers from a disease that causes the blood’s ability to perform the transport function to be disturbed.
Thus, he will not have enough oxygen and other nutrients to maintain the integrity of his organs necessary for life.
Apheresis – apheresis – is similar to whole blood donation, as it secures various blood components such as platelets and others. Platelet donation may help people with blood clotting disorders.
Apheresis may also contribute to securing antibodies that help treat many diseases, such as the Covid-19 virus.
Donating blood is not only a way to save lives, it also benefits the donor.
Donating blood may help people with many conditions, including:
- Internal or external bleeding as a result of an injury.
- People with sickle cell anemia or other diseases that impair blood function.
- People receiving cancer treatment.
- If you undergo surgeries, such as cardiovascular surgery or orthopedic surgery.
- People with inherited blood disorders.
- organ transplant.
- If treatment is needed related to plasma or other blood components.
Covid-19 and blood donation
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, those recovering from the Covid-19 virus can help others fight this virus by donating their blood plasma, which contains antibodies to the disease, and this contributes to increasing the ability of the recipient’s body to eliminate the virus.
Pros of donating blood:
1- Discovering health problems:
A blood donor performs a brief physical examination and a blood test before donating blood. These tests are not completely accurate and do not provide detailed information, but they may help detect some previously undiagnosed diseases, such as anemia or high blood pressure.
The test includes examination of:
- blood pressure.
- Body temperature.
- Heart rate.
- Hemoglobin or iron level.
Donating blood is not permitted once a problem is discovered during the test, and finding diseases is the first step in treatment.
2- Positive impact on society:
According to the American Red Cross, donating one unit of blood may save the lives of three people, and thus the donor provides a very important service to his community, in addition to helping others contributes to the donor’s self-esteem.
3- Weight Control:
It is believed that the blood donation process burns about 650 calories, but there is no scientific study confirming or denying this, in general, any benefit from this burning process will be short-term and will not contribute to weight loss.
But according to a 2012 study, blood donation centers should measure people’s weight before donating blood to identify obese people, help them lose weight, and treat any health problems caused by it.
4- Reducing iron levels in people with hemochromatosis:
The body needs iron to produce red blood cells. Almost one million people in the United States suffer from the first type of hereditary hemochromatosis. This disease causes high levels of iron in the blood, in addition to the excess iron deposits in other organs such as the heart and liver, which affects their functions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with hemochromatosis may benefit from apheresis similar to donating blood, and may constitute a treatment option for their condition. In many donation organizations, people with this disease are allowed to donate blood, but some do not.
5- Cardiovascular health:
In research conducted in 2019, researchers examined data on nearly 160,000 women who had donated blood over a period of ten years or more, and found that repeated donations over a long period provided protection against cardiovascular disease.
6- Lowering blood pressure:
Some researchers say that donating blood may help reduce blood pressure.In 2015, researchers monitored the blood pressure of 292 people who donated blood from one to four times over a year, about half of whom had high blood pressure, and it was noticed that their condition improved with repeated donation.
In addition, the blood pressure test – which is an essential step in the donation process – is an excellent opportunity to detect high blood pressure, measure pressure and record the results, and thus we can work to control the pressure.
7- Improve public health:
In 2007, researchers examined the data of more than a million blood donors, and they noted that the percentage of those who are at risk of death from any cause is about 30% less than non-donors, and that the risk of cancer is also lower by about 4%, and thus they concluded that blood donors have a better health condition than others.
In 2015, the previous data was re-examined again, taking into account other factors, and it was found that the risk of death from any cause decreased by 7.5% with blood donation annually.
This may indicate that donating blood has many benefits for the donor in general, but researchers have not yet been able to prove this. However, they maintain that donating blood does not shorten the donor’s life.
Cons of donating blood:
Donating blood is safe if the donation center follows the necessary basic safety standards.
The United States of America and other countries have strict regulatory measures in place to ensure safety, as blood banks monitor both the US Food and Drug Administration and the American Federation of Blood Banks.
Safety precautions include the following:
- Screening of donors for health problems.
- Use new needles for each donor.
- Hire a professional staff.
- Monitor donors to make sure they recover safely.
There are some disadvantages that may accompany donating blood, and we will present them as follows:
1- Temporary Reactions:
The donor may suffer some side effects due to the donation process, and although severe effects are rare, temporary reactions are possible and even common, and include:
- Feeling weak and possibly fainting.
- Bleeding at the puncture site.
- Subcutaneous bleeding or bruising.
These symptoms usually disappear within 24 hours. You should drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy, balanced diet within 48 hours after the donation, in order to help reduce and prevent side effects.
Red meat, spinach, juices, and iron-fortified breakfast chips are important for providing the amount of iron needed by the donor’s body and replacing what has been lost.
2- Negative side effects:
In rare cases, the donor may experience more severe symptoms, such as:
- Reduction of Blood pressure.
- Muscle contraction.
- difficulty breathing.
- Muscle twitching.
These symptoms usually appear in donors who are young, underweight, or for first time donors.
3- Affected sports performance:
Some studies claim that donating blood negatively affects athletic ability due to its effect on the circulatory and respiratory systems and reducing iron levels, but a report published in 2019 denied there was enough evidence to prove this.
Blood Donation process procedures:
Donating and collecting blood is a meticulously organized process that includes several stages:
The donor must get enough sleep the night before the donation process, and upon his arrival at the donation center, the following steps will be taken:
- Register the name of the donor.
- Record his medical history.
- A simple physical examination of the donor.
It checks that the individual is not infected with any disease that may be transmitted to others.
2- Donation process:
The health care professional will take the following steps while donating blood:
- Clean the donation site with an alcohol swab.
- Insert a new sterile needle into the vein.
- Attach the needle to the collection unit, which is a tube attached to a bag.
- Allow blood to flow into the cyst until it is full.
The process of donating a unit of blood takes 6-10 minutes, and the entire procedure takes 45-60 minutes until the end of the donation process.
3- After donating:
The health care professional presses the puncture site with a piece of cotton gauze and applies a bandage. The donor has to wait 10-15 minutes before departure, during which he receives some refreshments to regain his energy.
The donor should continue pressing the puncture site and raise his hand for 3-5 minutes if bleeding continues after donation.
Cold compresses may be placed on the puncture site if there is bleeding under the skin, and a period of 24 hours may be applied and then warm compresses are used.
The donor must verify that he has the requirements of the donation process before donating blood or blood elements.
Some factors may affect a person’s ability to donate blood, so the following questions should be asked:
- What is the assessment of the general health condition of the donor?
- Does he have any medical conditions, such as hepatitis or HIV?
- Is the person’s age and weight suitable for donation?
- Have you recently traveled or got a tattoo?
- Do you take drugs, especially intravenously?
- Did you take aspirin in the last 48 hours? (If donating platelets).
- What diabetes medication does he take? (If you have diabetes).
It takes 24 hours for the body to compensate for the loss of plasma, and 4-6 weeks to compensate for the loss of blood, so you should not donate blood more than once during 8 weeks.
According to the American Red Cross, one person needs a blood transfusion every two seconds, and about 6.8 million people in the United States donate blood annually, yet organizations are concerned about the numbers dropping.
Donating blood is a worthwhile process that contributes to a person’s self-esteem, has low risk levels, and offers many benefits to many individuals.
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