Donating blood is a great way to help the needy, did you know that there is a need for 36,000 blood donations every day to keep up with the current demand. This is based on data from the Red Cross. During a typical whole blood donation, 1 pint is collected. According to the Red Cross, in a typical car accident, a single victim may need as much as 100 pints of blood. Those impacted by cancer and sickle cell disease also need much of the blood supply as well.
Taking this into account, you can see why donating blood is so important. Beyond helping the world, how can donating blood help you though? Today we’re going to discuss the benefits of donating blood and the impact it can have on your own life.
- Every 2 seconds someone in the United States needs blood
- Blood currently cannot be manufactured so there is a heavy reliance on donations
- A single donation can save up to 3 lives
- 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed every day in the United States alone
- The most common blood type needed by hospitals is the O type. (I’m O+)
- The average blood transfusion is 3 units
Who Does Donating Blood Help?
No doubt donating blood helps a tremendous amount of people. Here are some examples of those who commonly need blood.
- Cancer Patients
- Trauma and Surgery Patients
- Sickle Cell Patients
- Burn Patients
- Learn More Here
Benefits of Donating Blood
1. Reduce Iron Stores
Why would you want to reduce iron in your blood? Iron is important to your body and it really is an essential nutrient in our diets. Iron is responsible for carrying oxygen through the blood throughout our bodies. However, having too much iron can be dangerous and this can lead to many different diseases. Many people may never even know it’s an issue but donating blood can bring the issue to light as well. Whenever you donate blood they check your red blood cell count which can be a window into how much iron you have circulating.
The official term for having too much iron is hemochromatosis. People with this condition can absorb iron at a much higher rate leading to excess iron in their body.
High Iron Disease Risk
- Heart Attack or Irregular Heart Beat
- Liver Issues or Liver Cancer
- Gall Bladder Disease
- Hypogonadism (See our article on Testosterone Replacement Therapy)
- Other Types of Cancer
2. Reduced Risk of Heart Attack
A study completed in 1998 showed an 88% reduced risk for heart attack among blood donors. This is related to the iron issue mentioned above. Reducing the red blood cell count or iron circulating give more room in your vessels for the blood to flow and reduces constriction of the flow.
3. Improved Liver Health
Also associated with excess iron is your liver. By donating blood and reducing the excess iron, you can help your liver stay healthy as well.
4. Reduced Cancer Risk
Another recent study surrounding cancer has shown that those with hemochromatosis can reduce their cancer risk by donating blood as well. This cancer risk reduction doesn’t apply as much to those who are relatively healthy but if you have this condition, it’s just another reason you should donate.
5. Mini Health Screening
Whenever you donate blood, they will first check your pulse, blood pressure, temperature and hemoglobin. This can uncover an issue that you weren’t aware of and prompt you to get it checked out. This can help you identify an issue before it becomes a bigger problem.
6. Calorie Burn
While donating blood should not be viewed as a weight loss strategy, according to the University of California, to replenish the blood donated you would burn 650 calories. These calories are not burned all at once however, instead, they will be burned over the course of weeks that it takes for your body to recover from the donation.
7. Free Infectious Disease Testing
You shouldn’t be donating blood just to get tested but it is an added benefit of the process. Any time you donate your blood is automatically tested for many different infections and diseases.
- West Nile
- A handful more test. Read More Here
8. Mental Benefits of Donating Blood
Donating blood can give you a sense of helping others, it can also reduce stress and alleviate depression in some cases. An act of altruism like donating blood can go a long way for not just your physical well being but also your mental health.
9. Benefits for Testosterone Replacement Therapy Patients
If you are on TRT of other types of Hormone Replacement Therapy, you can benefit by donating blood. It is common for TRT patients to have a high red blood cell count, so by donating you can help others while also helping yourself and reducing the risk for heart attack.
After talking to a member of the Red Cross team at a recent blood drive, they stated that they plan to add more benefits such as cholesterol checks in with each donation in the future. Now that they have the Donor app, donating has never been easier. You can quickly find blood drives and donations sites near you, track your donations and even see where your blood goes!