Giving Blood for National Blood Donor Month
January 19,2015 Bruce Copeland

We find ourselves in a new year and in the midst of the month of January, which is also known as National Blood Donor Month

Why do people donate blood?

.Woman donating blood in hospital

Some people may wonder why donate blood if you don't get snack or juice or a sticker or even an acknowledgement afterwards. Furthermore, there’s no way to know who the blood will go to, how many people you have helped or even if it will be used at all; perhaps the donation will simply sit in the blood bank until it expires.

Even in these somber circumstances, some people will be donors. Why? Even if there's nothing in it for them, and even if they don't know if any good will come from it, they are still willing to sacrifice something for the greater good.

So, why should you join them and donate blood?

Save a life or three

There is no artificial substitute for human blood, so someone needs donated human blood every 2 seconds in the United States to keep up with the need. Even one donation can help save the lives of up to three people. More interesting facts about the importance of blood donation are available from the American Red Cross, Some examples include:

  • More than 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
  • Sickle cell disease affects more than 70,000 people in the U.S. About 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.

Excess iron is not goodBlood transfusion bag

Iron is essential for a healthy body and life. Iron transports oxygen throughout our bodies and is integral to many other functions. However, if you have more iron than your body needs to satisfy your body’s cell oxygenation requirement, the excess can become a dangerous surplus.

Your body has a limited capacity to excrete iron, which means it can build up in organs like your liver, heart and pancreas. This is dangerous because iron can damage your body tissues contributing to serious health issues, including, but not limited to:

  • Cirrhosis
  • Liver cancer
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Diabetes
  • Bacterial and viral infections

Donating blood is a simple way to lower Iron levels in your body. Donating a unit of whole blood or double red cells (2-units) removes iron from your body.

Total Cost: FREE

52093036_thumbnailDonating blood costs you nothing (other than a little time and about a pint of blood), but the benefits for your health and your surrounding community are priceless. If you’re able to donate blood, or would like to find out if you’re eligible to donate blood, make an appointment today at your local donation center.

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