Blood donation, the voluntary act of allowing one's blood to be drawn out of body has many advantages besides giving that wonderful feeling of saving someone's life. Most of the time it is an act of charity, though sometimes many people donate blood for money and other incentives. The blood donated is stored in blood banks, to be subsequently used for transfusion.
No doubt the first and foremost advantage of donating blood is the exalted feeling of saving someone's life. If we donate the little excess blood in our body, it could save someone's life without creating any problem for us. Instead it would help to alleviate some major health problems like heart diseases. Blood donation is an excellent way to get rid of excess iron accumulated in our body due to its overconsumption. Excess iron in the body can stimulate the formation of free radicals, which are responsible for causing damage to body cells and tissues. Free radicals are also associated with many diseases like heart diseases and cancer.
Iron overloading is also thought to increase the risk of heart diseases. Besides, iron oxidizes cholesterol, which is harmful for the arteries. Hemochromatosis is a genetic disease characterized by excess accumulation of iron in the tissues due to improper metabolism. The disease can cause damage to many organs like pancreas, adrenal glands, etc. It may also causediabetes, liver diseases and heart diseases. So, donating blood on a regular basis would help you to regulate the level of iron in your body. Studies have shown that donating blood regularly can be beneficial for the heart and circulatory system and can reduce the risk of heart diseases, especially among young people.
Besides, blood donation also burns the extra calories and reduces your cholesterol level. After donating blood, the count of blood cells decreases in our body, which stimulates the bone marrow to produce new red blood cells in order to replenish the loss. So, it stimulates the production of new blood cells and refreshes the system.
Before donating blood, your hemoglobin level will be tested. If it is low, then you will not be allowed to donate blood. Besides hemoglobin, your blood pressure level and body weight will also be checked. In addition, your blood will also be examined for detecting the presence of five diseases, namely, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, Syphilis, HIV/AIDS and malaria. If you are not suffering from these diseases, only then you will be allowed to donate your blood.
There are no major disadvantages of donating blood, except that sometimes one may experience a drop in blood pressure due to hypovolemia (a state of reduced blood volume), which may necessitate cancellation of donation. Sometimes, one may also experience mild nausea or dizziness for a short while. But if you compare the health benefits and mental satisfaction that comes from saving a life, you will feel that benefits of this act of charity is not only restricted to the recipient, but also helps the donor immensely.
How often can one give blood?
Regulations in the United States allow people to donate whole blood once every 56 days. The waiting period between donations can be different for other blood components. For example, donating only platelets in a process called apheresis requires only a 3 day wait before a person can give again. Donating two units of red blood cells through a similar process doubles the waiting period to 112 days.