Health Benefits of Donating Blood
What if you could do something good for health and save lives at the same time? Count me in as I like being effective with my time and resources. Every day, about 44,000 units of blood are used to save lives across the United States. This blood is vital for cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, and victims of accidents. Although 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, less than 10 percent does so each year. Studies reveal many possible benefits of regular blood donation.
Not sure how YOU like to give back. Personally, I only have so much energy to go around for workouts 6 days a week, healthy nutrition and numerous self-care habits, be involved in my kids life and tote them to different life enriching activities and doctors appointments, household activities, be a good spouse and run a business. I am so appreciative of the many people that volunteer their time and efforts for different organizations, it is a gift of service. This said, I would rather give blood than spend more of my energies volunteering and it makes me feel good that I might be saving 3 lives. Donating blood, especially on a regular basis, can be similar to volunteer work. You give of your time (and your literal blood) to help strangers in need.
An average adult has between 9 and 12 pints of blood in their body. The volume in a person’s body will vary according to their size and other factors, but the average quantities are as follows: An average-sized woman has about 9 pints. An average-sized man has about 12 pints.
How much do the blood donor
Enjoy these benefits from giving blood:
- Prior to the blood draw it’s like getting a mini-physical in which someone will check your pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, hemoglobin (iron count) and more. You might even find out your iron levels are too low and you need a supplement. I don’t eat meat and I was anemic during pregnancies so I always take an iron supplement.
- Giving blood can reduce harmful iron stores – most people don’t even know they have Hemochromatosis which is a disease that causes iron overload. This can develop early in life or at age 40 or 50. Too much iron can be damaging to blood vessels, and a regular decrease of iron-rich blood and subsequent replenishment due to blood donation can lead to a more beneficial lower iron level. I know 2 clients that routinely have to give blood aka: blood letting.
- Phlebotomy (the process of drawing blood) was found to be an iron-reduction method that is associated with lower cancer risk and mortality.
- Donating blood can help your liver stay healthy
- Giving blood can be good for your mental state as it takes you out of the ME..ME..ME mindset and helps you focus on what you can do to help others. Volunteering has positive effects on happiness.
- Find out what your blood type is so can try one of my favorite types of diet. The Blood Type Diet is very intuitive and can make a lot of sense or radically change some of your nutrition habits to help you lose weight, have more energy, sleep better or have less digestive issues.
So maybe you are one of those peeps that need to be motivated by fear or the away from something bad to take action.
Here’s What You Want to Avoid!
According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, 88% of blood donors are less likely to suffer a heart attack. With heart attacks to hold the record for most deaths in the US why not try and edge that one down on your list. Numbers aren’t out yet on if Coronavirus is going to be atop of this list at least for 2020. What we do know is that 80% of corona cases don’t become serious, it’s the underlying health causes that add a compound ill health risk and effect.
If you don’t give blood then you may not be giving your body that extra help with blood flow, giving it a lower viscosity (resistance) and thus making it less damaging to blood vessels.
Did you know that men tend to store more iron in their body than women?
On a lighter note, I remember my mother giving blood often when I was a kid. She said they loved seeing her and she felt appreciated for giving. If we don’t hear others encouraging us to give blood then most people simply won’t do it or think that someone else will. Consider this post a means of highly encouraging you to make an appointment to give blood. Side note…I was motivated by the Taco Tuesday T-Shirt email. They give gift cards too sometimes and you get points for every donation you give. 800 points each time which you can redeem for prizes or gift cards. Different collectors have different age requirements. South Carolina minimum is age 16 and the upper age limit in some countries is age 65.
The average adult has approximately 10 pints, or 8% of body weight, and it takes a number of weeks to replenish those stores (this is why donors must wait 8 weeks between donations).
Tips & prior to giving!
- hydrate with water and or electrolytes (I pop a nunn electrolyte tab in some water)
- Fuel up before you go & afterwards! Yesterday there was a woman that said she didn’t eat before giving and they pulled out a cold pack for her neck/chest, plugged in a fan and gave her sodium laced crackers and a sugary drink. With my diet, there’s no way I’m gonna eat crappy processed peanut butter crackers and a soda. Although last time I was served some veggie straws (gluten and dairy free…wohoo!). I usually time it to eat a salted brown rice cake with sunflower nut or cashew nut butter an hour before giving and then have an Aloha protein bar afterwards and water.
- do your exercise several hours prior to donating
- bring a jacket or long pants. they may or may not have warm blankets for you.
- you might feel tired for 2 days post donation.
- no strenuous activity immediately following – take it easy for 2 days (I lifted and ran on day 2 but easier effort)
- you might feel lightheaded the day of and for up to 48 hours
I’ll leave you with this a a few pics from yesterday @thebloodconnection in Greenville, SC.
What’s not pictured is the yelp I let out when I get stuck with needles. I mean who loves them right, unless your a junkie and at that point you have bigger problems.
“Bloodletting is one of the humanity’s oldest medical practices, dating back thousands of years and linked to many ancient cultures, including the Mayans, Aztecs, Egyptians and Mesopotamians. The typical purpose was to cure a person suffering from some kind of infirmity (leprosy, plague, pneumonia, stroke, inflammation, herpes, acne – pretty much anything). The patient was pierced or cut and then drained of several ounces of blood until they fainted.” ~Medtech.edu~
I didn’t know until my son (age 15) pointed out that the bag that your blood goes in is slowing swinging back and forth during the process. Cool, it keeps it from clotting. They keep it out of sight, thank goodness as I always look away when they stick me.
Find Tonya online with live personal training/coaching or hire her to write a program for you with your own personalized 4-6 minute demo of each of your custom workouts included. Greenville, South Carolina site to be available this year in the town of Travelers Rest, South Carolina. Stay tuned for more details as we are working on securing a location. Memphis location 552 South Main, Memphis, TN 38103 is no longer onsite for training, massage and nutrition coaching.
Tonya Tittle, M.S., ACSM, LMT, TPI Level 1
Owner/Dir. of Training