Donating Blood

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mike-mainville-a-lab-assistant-at-canadian-blood-services-hFix’s Lifestyle Blog has sent The Journal some information on donating blood. The Journal supports Canadian Blood Services and hopes our healthy students will act out of kindness and donate life to many.

What to Know Before You Go
Donating blood can be a scary thought. The idea of the needle alone might make you squirm and send shivers down your spine. Before you run for the hills, know that if you can be brave for roughly seven minutes, (yes, that’s all it takes to donate!) you will help save a life. Did you know that you’re eligible to donate blood if you are over 17 years old, in good health, and weigh at least 110 pounds? It’s estimated that 60 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, but only 5 percent do. Without these crucial blood transfusions, 4.5 million more Americans would die each year.1

Why Donate?
What happens after your blood is taken? Your blood is sent to labs for rigorous testing, where approximately 12 tests are performed. After testing and once your blood is declared “safe” for transfusion, it is then transferred to hospitals and clinics in need.

Depending on your blood type, your donation could be used in a variety of situations. People who have the blood type O-negative are universal donors, and their red blood cells can be transfused into anyone regardless of the recipient’s blood type. When doctors are in emergency situations and don’t have the time or capability to check the patient’s blood type, they will use O-negative blood. This means O-negative blood is always in high demand. Emergency situations are just some of the many instances blood transfusions are performed. Anemic patients often receive transfusions to increase their iron levels, while some people with sickle cell disease encounter complications and require a transfusion every month. Patients with long-term illnesses or battling cancer, premature infants, and patients undergoing open-heart surgeries may also be the recipient of your gift.

Four Health Benefits of Donating Blood
Donating blood helps the recipient, and also offers a variety of health benefits for the donor. Here are some of the ways your body will benefit from your humanitarian efforts:

Free Health Checkup: Before you donate blood, your hemoglobin levels, blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate are all assessed at no cost to you. If there are any abnormalities, you will be made aware of them and can seek medical attention. Furthermore, once your blood has been sent to the lab, they will screen it for infections such as syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis B and C. You can opt to be informed if they find anything abnormal during this analysis.8

Burns Calories: Donating one pint of blood can burn up to 650 calories. While this shouldn’t be considered a weight-loss solution, it is a nice bonus for doing a good deed!

Decreases Risk of Cancer: By donating blood, you could be reducing your risk for cancer. Iron has been linked to free-radical damage in the body and is associated with an increased risk of cancer and accelerated aging.9 When you donate blood, you are removing some of the iron from your system and lowering your risk for liver, lung, colon, and throat cancers.

New Blood Cells: Your body will be stimulated to replenish the blood cells lost during the donation, which helps maintain good health.

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