Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood, whether it’s essential for surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illness, or traumatic injury. While giving blood (also known as phlebotomy) certainly benefits these recipients, donors also receive significant health benefits that may surprise you. And while BandGrip wound closure technology is all about stopping the bleeding, we thought it was important to highlight the benefits of giving blood.
Top 3 Benefits of Giving Blood
Helps Discover Potential Health Problems
While a regular trip to the doctor is the best way to uncover health problems, let’s face it, some of us don’t go as often as we should. In the interim, however, donating blood can give you insight into your cardiovascular health, for free.
Prior to blood withdrawal, donors receive a brief physical, including a check of their temperature, pulse, hemoglobin levels, and blood pressure. Testing also checks for hepatitis B and C, HIV, West Nile virus, syphilis, and other diseases. It anything out of the ordinary is discovered, the clinic or donation van will let you know.
Helps Reduce Iron Overload and Associated Diseases
Iron overload—a relatively common condition called hemochromatosis—is a dangerous condition that affects one in every 200 Americans. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that regularly removing red blood cells by giving blood helps remove excess iron in their blood reducing the chance of hemochromatosis and each of the following diseases:
- Heart Attack. High levels of iron in the blood can cause an irregular heartbeat and constrict blood vessels, which increases the risk of a heart attack; reducing iron deposits helps open these vessels up. In fact, The American Journal of Epidemiology reports that donating blood at least once a year could reduce the risk of heart attack by 88%.
- Cancer. A study published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reveals that reducing iron overload can lower cancer risk and mortality in some individuals. This particular study focused on patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a common circulatory problem. PAD patients who regularly donated blood lowered their risk of developing cancer versus those who did not.
- Liver Disease. National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has reached “epidemic proportions,” and iron overload is linked to the problem (as well as Hepatitis C and other liver conditions). While other factors may be at play, donating blood is a good first step in depleting iron stores and lessening liver health challenges.
Helps Improve Your Mental Well-Being
We’ve covered the physical benefits, but blood donors also benefit psychologically. Knowing that you’ve given blood to someone or multiple people who may desperately need it—perhaps even saving a life in the process—has a feel-good effect unlike any other. Many donors compare blood-giving to volunteering, which has been shown to have positive effects on happiness and helps people to feel more actively involved in their community.
So, what are you waiting for? Giving blood is good for you and for recipients. The average donation is just one pint of blood, it takes less than 10 minutes to collect, and it has the potential to save up to three lives! So roll up your sleeve and make a difference in someone’s life today.