Posted by Zahra Nielsen

The Health Benefits of Donating Blood

January 5, 2023 Hematology

In the past year, the U.S. has experienced the worst blood shortage in over a decade due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19. Health concerns and limited resources in staffing have resulted in a 10% reduction in blood donations, which has made it difficult for patients in critical conditions to receive the immediate care they need.

Giving blood can be a nerve-wracking decision for some, but what you may not realize is that donating blood doesn’t just help patients–it can be good for your own health too. The perks of donating blood go beyond free cookies and juice, including:

Increased Heart Health

Myocardial infarctions, or heart attacks, can happen when blood flow to the heart is disrupted, often due to high cholesterol. Blood donations can lower these disruptions by removing excess iron deposits, which is where lipid profiles containing cholesterol and triglycerides are stored. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology followed 2,862 middle-aged men for a period of 9 years and found that those who were blood donors had reduced their risk of heart attacks by 88% compared to non-blood donors. Another study conducted on hypertensives, or those with elevated blood pressure, revealed a decrease in blood pressure over the course of a year after four blood donations.

*While giving blood is considered generally safe for most people, be sure to consult with your primary care provider if you have a history of heart disease.

Free Health Screenings

When you donate with the American Red Cross, you’ll receive a free health screening which will measure your pulse, blood pressure, and hemoglobin count. Once you finish donating, your unit of blood is processed at a lab to check for your blood type, certain diseases, and blood disorders such as sickle-cell anemia. Getting your blood checked regularly could help catch any undetected issues in your blood early on and allow you to receive further testing and treatment if needed.

Improved Mental Health

It’s common to feel good after accomplishing a noble deed, but does it really impact your health? According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), giving back to the community has shown to reduce stress, increase confidence, and produce a sense of purpose and belonging. our physical health and mental health are closely linked, so take comfort in knowing that your altruistic motives are benefiting all parts of your wellbeing.

Whether or not these factors influence your decision to give blood, remember that just one donation can save multiple lives. As an organization dedicated to improving quality of life, Revere Health gives back to the community by hosting American Red Cross blood drives on our campuses. To learn more about The American Red Cross and how their efforts are saving people all across the country, click here. To find an upcoming blood drive near you, click here.

 

WRITTEN BY:

Zahra Nielsen

Zahra Nielsen currently serves as Revere Health’s Community Relations Specialist. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science from Utah Valley University with the intention of working with at-risk communities, but she has since found a love for community engagement, volunteerism, and outreach. Since graduating, her career has taken her to non-profit organizations across the country. From Washington D.C, New York, and Salt Lake City, she has had the opportunity to work with notable organizations such as the National Council for Adoption, Volunteers of America, and United Way. After years of working in different areas of community engagement, Zahra has found her niche in writing. She hopes to pursue this creative form of outreach as a way of inspiring community members to be mindful of their well-being and the well-being of others. In her free time, Zahra likes to practice and teach yoga. She also enjoys live theatre, listening to music, and watching endless hours of quirky movies and TV shows with her husband.

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.