OVERVIEW OF BLOOD
Blood is very essential to human life. It circulates through our body and delivers essential substances like oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells. It also transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells. There is no substitute for blood. It cannot be made or manufactured. Generous blood donors are the only source of blood for patients in need of a blood transfusion.
There are four basic components that comprise human blood. They are plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
BLOOD DONATION AND ITS BENEFITS
Blood donation is a voluntary procedure that can help save the lives of others. There are several types of blood donation, which help meet different medical needs. However, concerning the benefits, blood donation helps to stimulate the production of new blood cells. Excessive iron in the blood causes oxidation of cholesterol which gets deposited on the walls of arteries, increasing the chances of heart attack and strokes. Blood donation also helps to maintain the level of iron in blood, thus reducing the risk of heart diseases. Oxidative damage is the major culprit implicated in accelerated ageing, heart attacks, strokes etc.
Another benefit of blood donation is that it helps in weight loss, that is, it burns calories. One time blood donation helps you shed about 650 Kcal. This can aid you in your body weight control measures. However, blood can be donated safely once in two or three months and not more frequently. This will depend on your health status and your blood haemoglobin and iron levels.
Also, blood donation reduces the risk of cancer. High levels of iron have been implicated in cancer. Theoretically, donating blood frequently will reduce the risk of cancers. More research is going on to find strong evidence on this one. However, the old myth that blood donations may lead to cancer has been abolished. There is also the joy a donor gets for saving a life.
Safe blood is blood that is collected from voluntary non-remunerated blood donors and tested to be free of Transfusion Transmissible Infections commonly known as TTIs. Blood and blood products are essential to care for women with pregnancy and childbirth associated bleeding, children with severe anaemia due to malaria and malnutrition, patients with blood and bone marrow disorders, inherited disorders of haemoglobin and immune deficiency conditions, people with traumatic injuries in emergencies, disasters and accidents and patients undergoing advanced medical and surgical procedures.
Finally, in order to be always fit to donate safe blood, people should maintain healthy lifestyle and habits that ensure good health. It is not advisable to donate blood during pregnancies, if on some medications, feeling ill, age below 18 and if above 65 years unless medically advised.
Donate safe blood today and save the future.