There’s no question blood donations benefit those who need blood transfusions. But did you know that donors receive health benefits as well?
It’s true that blood donations really do give the gift of life. Just ask Susan Zellner, who has received more than 14 blood transfusions at Renown Infusion Services. Susan is living with myelodysplastic syndrome — a type of cancer where the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells.
“This is my 14th round [of getting blood] so that is how important blood donations are especially to people who have pre-leukemia or leukemia,” Susan explains. “If the blood banks are low on blood those patients would probably die because the blood nourishes everything. I know that myself – I am very weak right now and that is the reason I need the blood.”
In addition to blood donations fulfilling a life-saving need for those who receive transfusions, did you know that you as a donor receive health benefits from donating?
READ MORE: A Face to Your Blood Donations
By donating blood, not only will you balance your iron levels, reduce your risk of heart disease and benefit from a health check, you will also help those in the community. And, it’s free for you to provide a life-saving need for recipients.
Donating blood has several health benefits you may not have thought of.
- You get a free health check up.
As part of your blood donation, you will receive a mini-physical including a check of your pulse, blood pressure, body temperature and hemoglobin.
- Your iron levels will stay balanced.
Healthy adults usually have about five grams of iron in their bodies, mostly in red blood cells. When you donate a unit of blood, you lose about a quarter of a gram of iron, which gets replenished from the food you eat in the weeks after donation. This regulation of iron levels is a good thing because having too much iron could be bad news for your blood vessels.
- You’ll reduce your risk of heart disease.
Donating regularly helps keep the body’s iron levels in check which has been shown to reduce heart disease. While iron is a needed for your body to function properly, an excessive iron buildup can lead to excessive oxidative damage – which can lead to accelerated aging and heart attacks.
- You’ll burn calories.
A one-time blood donation helps you shed 650 Kcal which can help aid in your body’s weight control measures. Keep in mind, however, blood donations can only take place once every two or three months and depends on your current health status, iron and hemoglobin levels.
- You could live longer.
Doing good deeds for others is one way to live longer. An American Psychological Association study points to a longer life span for those who volunteered for altruistic reasons. Don’t forget, according to the Red Cross, one blood donation can save the lives of up to three people.
Interested in donating? Renown Health holds six community blood drives throughout the year. The next drive will take place at locations across the health network on Thursday, Feb. 26.
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“If you are able to donate blood you should really try to donate,” Susan says. “It would really help the community and we have a really nice community here.”