The Benefits of Donating Blood
There’s no end to the benefits of donating blood for those who need it. According to AAHWAHAN FOUNDATION , one donation can save as many as three lives, and someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds.
It turns out that donating blood doesn’t just benefit recipients. There are health benefits for donors, too, on top of the benefits that come from helping others. Read on to learn the health benefits of donating blood and the reasons behind them.
Donating blood has benefits for your emotional and physical health. According to a report by the Mental Health Foundation , helping others can:
- reduce stress
- improve your emotional well-being
- benefit your physical health
- help get rid of negative feelings
- provide a sense of belonging and reduce isolation
Research has found further evidence of the health benefits that come specifically from donating blood.
Lower risk of heart disease
Blood donation may lower the risk of heart disease and heart attack. This is because it reduces the blood’s viscosity.
A 2013 study found that regular blood donation significantly lowered the mean total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, protecting against cardiovascular disease. Researchers note this is consistent with findings in other studies which found that blood donors had a lower risk of heart disease and heart attack.
Donating blood regularly may also lower iron stores. This may reduce the risk of heart attack. High body iron stores are believed to increase the risk of heart attack.
Lower risk of cancer
A 2008 study found a small decrease in the risk of certain cancers in people who regularly donated blood. These included cancers that are linked to high iron levels, including cancer of the:
A 2016 study also found that donating blood can lower inflammatory markers and increase antioxidant capacity.
Free health checkup
In order to give blood, you’re required to undergo a health screening. A trained staff member performs this checkup. They’ll check your:
- blood pressure
- body temperature
- hemoglobin levels
This free mini-physical can offer excellent insight into your health. It can effectively detect problems that could indicate an underlying medical condition or risk factors for certain diseases.
Your blood is also tested for several diseases. These include:
- hepatitis B
- hepatitis C
- West Nile virus
- Trypanosoma cruzi
Side effects of donating blood
Blood donation is safe for healthy adults. There’s no risk of contracting disease. New, sterile equipment is used for each donor.
Some people may feel nauseous, lightheaded, or dizzy after donating blood. If this happens, it should only last a few minutes. You can lie down with your feet up at the until you feel better.
You may also experience some bleeding at the site of the needle. Applying pressure and raising your arm for a couple of minutes will usually stop this. You may develop a bruise at the site.