This January, the American Red Cross celebrates the annual National Blood Donor Month in recognition of the contributions of blood and platelet donors in saving many lives. The Red Cross also encourages individuals to donate blood.
Did you know that when you donate blood, you don’t just help the recipient? Here are some of the ways you can benefit from this humanitarian act.
- Free Health Check-up
Generally, only individuals who are healthy can donate blood. Before every blood donation process, individuals who wish to donate blood are asked to undergo a series of health check-ups for free. This will help them detect blood pressure abnormalities and other signs of early diseases. Furthermore, blood donors are also provided with free blood analysis. Once the blood is donated, it is tested for certain infections such as HIV 1 and 2, Hepatitis B and C. Blood donors can opt to be informed about any abnormality found in those screening tests.
- Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Every individual needs iron to assist with the distribution of oxygen around the body. However, excessive iron has a significant impact on the hardening of arteries. When you donate blood, you are getting rid of 225 to 250 milligrams of iron from your body, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. Beyond heart disease, iron overload can also lead to liver disease, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, and more. So iron depletion for those who have too much in their system is certainly not a bad thing.
- Burns Calories
While we don’t recommend blood donation for weight loss, it can be a side perk! According to the University of California, individuals burn approximately 650 calories per donation of one pint of blood. So you don’t have to feel guilty about not making it to the gym on blood donation days. (Be aware, though, that donors must weigh at least 110 pounds).
To learn more about donating blood and the donation process, go to this link: http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood.