Blood is essential to one’s survival, acting as a way for oxygen and essential nutrients to reach different organs in the body. This is why healthcare institutions are always in need of blood to give a lifeline to patients with serious medical conditions or to nurse them back to health.
The Philippine Red Cross estimates that more than 2,000 blood units [JAG1] are being transfused to patients all over the country every day. You also cannot discount the possibility that someone you know might need blood transfusion in the near future.
But did you know that patients aren’t the only ones benefiting from blood donations? Donating blood regularly also presents a multitude of health benefits for you—the donor.
Here are the top reasons why you should donate blood as part of your health routine:
1. Free health checkup and pathology test
Before donating blood, you’ll need to undergo a medical check-up to make sure that you’re healthy enough to be a donor. At the same time, this means that you’ll know if you have potential health issues early on.
During the check-up, you’ll have to answer questions relating to your medical history and undergo health screening procedures to check your pulse, temperature, blood pressure, and blood count using a pathology test—all these for free. This form of free medical test is definitely something you must take advantage of.
2. Reduce the risk of heart and liver diseases
Iron overload happens when you follow an iron-rich diet, causing your body’s iron levels to increase. This excess iron can constrict the blood vessels in your heart and liver where it’s stored. As a result, you may be prone to diseases affecting these organs such as liver cirrhosis and cancer, as well as heart attacks.
As a blood donor, you’re able to get rid of 225 mg to 250 mg of iron, which can significantly help prevent your body from iron overload.
3. Lower the risk of cancer
A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute associates iron reduction with lower cancer risk and mortality.
The study observed that patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD)—a condition where blood doesn’t flow properly to the legs—who regularly donated blood had a reduced risk of developing subsequent cancer than those who did not.
Apart from this finding, the study also highlighted a couple of health issues:
- Iron accumulation heightens the risk of chronic diseases, including colorectal cancer.
- Among women, cancer risk increases after menopause since their body no longer has a way of eliminating excess iron.
Since donating blood regularly helps you balance the iron levels in your body, your risk for various types of cancer becomes lower too.
4. Develop new blood cells
There are approximately 10 pints of blood in the body of an average adult. When you donate blood, you only use about 1 pint of your blood supply.
Yet what’s even more amazing is the fact that your body has a way of replacing the blood it has lost. In fact, your body only needs a couple of days to make new, oxygen-rich blood cells.
5. Maintain your body weight
Every time you donate blood, you’re burning up to 650 calories of your body fat. This is because your body must replenish your blood cells.
Although this calorie burn doesn’t mean that you should use blood donation as a means to lose weight, it still supports the fact that there are health benefits when you donate blood regularly.
6. Lower cholesterol level
When you donate blood, you’re also getting rid of excess amount of lipids or fatty substances in your blood. This is important so that fat deposits don’t accumulate in your arteries, lowering your cholesterol level and your risk for heart disease.
7. Improve your mental wellbeing
The health benefits of donating blood don’t just relate to the physical aspect. Psychologically speaking, choosing to be a blood donor can uplift your human spirit, too.
Since humans are wired to feel a deep sense of satisfaction from being able to help someone in need, knowing that your blood donation will be used in emergencies and other medical procedures to save lives can add to your sense of self-worth.
8. Save lives
Donating blood can be the highest form of humanitarian act. Without blood donation, patients can’t undergo surgeries, recover from illnesses, or just function on a daily basis. You may not be able to help cure someone from life-threatening diseases like cancer, but you can definitely help someone stay alive when you donate blood.
Donate Blood Today
Whenever you donate blood, you’re giving someone the opportunity to have a new lease on life, not to mention that you’re also giving your overall health a great boost.
Donating blood is a simple process, which only takes about an hour or two of your time. Just go to blood donation centers, where medical professionals will evaluate your eligibility to become a blood donor. The main thing is for you to be healthy, and if you meet this requirement, you can start donating blood every three (3) months.
Makati Medical Center’s Dept. of Pathology & Laboratories facility is open from Monday to Sunday, from 8 AM to 9 PM to give everyone a chance to donate blood.
Ready to give someone the gift of life through blood donation? Pay us a visit at Makati Medical Center.