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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Blood Donations

Today, I finally got round to donating blood for the 2nd time.  Being O Positive means that I am in the most common of blood types (with around 37% others being the same type) but this is a universal donor and can be given to around 83% of recipients so it's a really helpful type to be.  The first time I did it was back in March 2007 so it's taken a while!  I think it's a really good thing to do because there are so many people out there that require blood for different things and only 4% of people in the UK take the time to donate. That's only 4 out of every 100 people! If you break it down it's one person in every 25 and the way I see it my whole family is made up of around 25 people so if one of those gets sick I'd like to know that the resources were available.  But then, you can only give one pint each donation (3 times a year for women, or 4 times a year for men) so if someone needed a blood transfusion it's quite likely my one pint (or 3 in a year) wouldn't be able to cover it!  I first decided to donate blood when my mum got ill with cancer and every now and, from time to time, would require extra blood to help her body to fight harder, and I remember always feeling so grateful to those people that had taken the time to donate blood to help others.

Apart from helping the people who need the blood to get better, or even to survive illnesses, there are great benefits for the donor (and no, I don't mean the awesome keyring I got!).  In the way of health and life expectancy generally women live longer than men and this may be to do with the fact that they lose blood each month through menstruation.  So here are some of the benefits for a donor health - 

Weightloss: I can't exert myself and go for a run today, but I've done something way more calorie burning! Donating a pint of blood burns 650 calories on average! That's way more than the amount that would have been burnt by me going for a run!

Prevention of cancer and aging:  It reduces the iron build up in your blood which can help reduce your risks of getting cancer because iron in the blood increases the level of free-radical damage to your body, in turn increasing the risk of cancer and aging. 

Reduces risk of Type II Diabetes: Several studies have found that by reducing the iron stores by getting rid of excess iron and minerals the sensitivity to insulin is increased and therefore risk of type II diabetes is reduced.

Heart Problems: It can also help with heart problems because the body will replace the blood lost in 2 days.  But this is mostly just fluid, it can take up to 56 days for all of the red blood cells to regenerate up to their former numbers.  In turn, this makes the blood diluted and thinner therefore, applying less pressure to the heart and arteries.  

So, it's all good news! Only bad part of it was the fact that when I sat up I nearly passed out but the nurses were absolutely lovely and got me back to my former self by feeding me biscuits and giving me fluids :)  I really recommend it to anyone that is able to give blood!

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