We all know we can literally save lives by donating blood. But what are the other benefits?
1. Rule Out Nasty Viruses
Upon giving blood, your donation is tested for some nasty viruses such as cytomegalovirus, West Nile virus, T-cruzi, malaria, human T-lymphotropic virus, hepatitis E, hepatitis C, hepatitis B, syphilis, and HIV. If any of these are discovered in your blood then you will be informed as soon as possible. If not, a needy patient will make good use of your donation.
2. Help Blood Flow
Results published in Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation (1998) show blood donation reduces systolic and diastolic blood viscosity values from their baselines by 21% and 32%. “If blood has a high viscosity, or resistance to flow, it will flow like molasses,” says Dr Phillip DeChristopher, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Loyola Health System blood bank.
3. Balancing Iron Levels
Many of us have too much iron in our blood. When you give blood, you can reduce your iron content by a quarter. Don’t worry, your body will replace what it needs from your diet. What if your iron levels are in fact too low? No worries — they check your haemoglobin level is adequate before taking blood.
4. Haemoglobin Check
If you have too little iron (anemia) or too much (haemochromatosis) then a blood test will flag this up before they take any blood from you. In fact, if you have haemochromatosis then the main treatment is phlebotomy (removing some of your blood). Either way, going for a blood test will be good for you.
5. Mini Physical
Getting five minutes with a nurse can be very valuable. Not only do they examine blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and haemoglobin, but they are also trained to spot a whole host of common health problems. If you’ve seen a medical professional for a while, they might be able to offer you some advice (for any health problems you should book an appointment with your GP).
6. ‘Tis the Season to be Bleeding
Yes, people give less blood over the holidays. No, people don’t stop needing blood over Christmas. If ever you are going to give blood, now is the time. “We tend to see blood stocks dip from mid-December to early January,” says Mike Stredder, director of Blood Donation.
7. Self-reflection over a Free Snack
Usually snacks and refreshments are available after giving blood. Comfortable seating is also provided, where you will be asked to wait for ten minutes before leaving. While you relax with a cup of tea and a biscuit, you’ll find the perfect oppurtunity to reflect on the gift you’ve just given to your fellow human beings.