Do you know, every year, at least 12000 Indians die from the unavailability of donated blood? Many prevalent myths stop people from donating. However, consistent research has cleared the air, and today we know that blood donation is a healthy option for both the donor and the receiver.
What Is Blood Donation?
Blood donation is a procedure wherein a person donates his blood to save a fellow human. The blood is then adequately stored in the blood bank and used to transfuse whenever necessary.
Who is a suitable candidate for blood donation?
Blood donation is a noble cause. Though most of us may want to do it, not everybody is eligible. In India, a blood donor must be at least 18 years of age, in good health and at ideal weight.
The hospital staff takes a sample of your blood to check for your eligibility. They evaluate the amount of haemoglobin in the blood, and if the levels are low, you may not be allowed for blood donation.
The hospital will also ask you various questions to map your medical history. These are targeted to understand if you have higher chances of carrying bloodborne infections. Apart from that, the following situations may bar a person from donating blood.
- Consuming drugs or steroids in the past three months
- A person suffering from congenital coagulation deficiency
- Testing positive for HIV
- In a sexual relationship with a person suffering from viral hepatitis
- A history of babesiosis
If you want to know more regarding your eligibility for blood donation:
Why Is Blood Donation Conducted?
Blood plays a crucial role in our body. It is responsible for all the other functions in the body that keep us alive. However, some situations lead to a lack of blood, and when the same is not transfused into the body within the stipulated time, the person may lose his life.
Deaths due to blood loss during accidents, calamities, pregnancy, childbirth, major surgery, and severe anemia are avoidable deaths. In all these situations, the availability of blood could save lives. As considerate humans, we must realize that preventable deaths are the worst, and blood donation can help cope with this situation.
What Are the Different Kinds of Blood Donation?
Voluntary blood donation is of four types. These include whole blood, plasma, red blood cells, and platelet donations.
- Whole blood donation
The whole blood donation procedure is the most common one you can witness. People with all blood groups are eligible for this procedure, wherein half a liter of blood is taken. The blood is either transfused as a whole or separated into red blood cells, platelets, and plasma.
- Platelets donation
Platelets are tiny cells in your body—these help to stop bleeding by clotting the blood. People with clotting problems, cancer, organ transplants, and major surgeries may need platelets. Once donated, platelets have to be used within five days.
An apheresis machine collects your platelets with some plasma: the red blood cells and most of the plasma return to your body.
- Plasma donation
People suffering from liver conditions, severe bacterial infections, or burns require plasma donations. These conditions need plasma for clotting the blood and stopping bleeding. Like platelet donation, plasma is also taken through the apheresis machine, and the other blood components are returned to the donor.
Plasma from the AB blood group is high in demand as it can be transfused to any person regardless of the blood group. One can donate plasma every 28 days.
- Red blood cell donation
Red blood cells play a crucial role in carrying oxygen to every part of the body and hence are highly vital. Patients who lose a major chunk of their blood through excessive trauma, major surgery, or acute anemia may require blood donation from red blood cells.
Here too, red blood cells are extracted from the blood through the apheresis machine while the rest is returned to the donor. Your body will require significant time to replace red blood cells. Hence, doctors advise you to maintain a gap of 168 days before your next blood donation.
If you think of opting for any of the above blood donation types, meet a doctor for expert advice.
Are There Any Benefits of Blood Donation?
The most significant benefit of donating blood is that you get to save lives. People stuck in disasters, calamities, and fatal diseases can live longer with blood transfusion. For many, it can help to prevent deaths from fatal accidents and trauma.
While you will be helping people, there are also multiple benefits to your own body. Blood donation is healthy for the donor. Regular blood donation offers the following benefits.
- Better emotional wellbeing
Blood donation helps you think positively about life. It is an act that can save a stranger’s life, making you feel worthwhile.
- Improvement in cholesterol levels
Though the reason for the same is yet to be unearthed, donating blood does make way for good cholesterol.
- Lower the iron levels
For some people, high iron levels can be a cause of worry. Donating blood can reverse the condition by removing red blood cells, consequently lowering the iron levels.
Does Blood Donation Have Any Complications?
After blood donation, your body have slight side effects. These are temporary and will disappear if you follow these tips:
- Drink lots of healthy beverages within 24 to 48 hours of blood donation
- Take ample rest
- Do not indulge in physical activity for a day or two
- Have healthy food to combat fatigue
- Use an icepack on the bruise of the needle
Blood donation is a much-needed service to society. In India, we already have a shortage of blood, and many people in the country need it. Through regular blood donation, we can lend a hand to save lives and do our bit.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much time will the body take to replenish the lost blood after blood donation?
The body replaces plasma within 24 hours and red blood cells within six weeks. Similarly, whole blood may take around eight weeks to replenish.
How much time does blood donation take?
The time depends on the type of blood donation. If you are doing a whole blood donation, around 45 to 60 minutes will be sufficient. For plasma or platelets, about 1 to 2 hours may suffice, while red blood cell donation will not take more than 30 minutes.
What if I have tattoos or piercings?
If you recently had a tattoo or piercing, it is advisable to talk to the medical practitioner before venturing for a blood donation.