January is National Blood Donation Month and a great way to stay on your New Year’s health kick is to donate blood. Community Ambulance Paramedic Melanie Bangle is here to tell us how giving blood can, not only save a life, but also it can be beneficial to your health.
In the U.S., every 2 seconds someone needs blood. Blood cannot be manufactured – it can only come from donors.
Blood donated is used for a number of medical reasons:
- Women who have bleeding complications during or after childbirth
- Approximately 90,000 sickle cell patients require frequent blood transfusions throughout their life.
- More than 1.68 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year and many of them will need blood during their chemotherapy treatment.
- People with severe trauma following a man-made or natural disaster and accidents. A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
Out of the 38% of the U.S. population that is eligible to donate blood, only 10% actually donate. One pint of blood from a single person can help 3-6 people who need it.
Donating blood is also healthy for the donor:
Giving blood helps prevent heart disease. Men who donate blood are 4x less likely to have a heart attack than men who do not donate blood.
Giving blood and reducing the iron buildup reduces the oxidative effects of iron and reduces the risk of breast, liver and colon cancer.
It lowers the iron buildup in your blood. Men and postmenopausal women tend to accumulate iron in their blood, and several studies have shown this buildup may increase the risk of heart disease. Giving blood removes iron from your body.
Giving one pint of blood burns approximately 650 calories.
You get a free blood test, worth about $300. Before giving your blood to someone, blood banks obviously must test the blood for infectious diseases. If something is found, they will let you know (and the blood will not be used).
Your body makes newer, more flexible blood cells to replace the ones you donated. More flexible blood cells fit through your small capillaries better, improving blood flow through your body
For more information, visit CommunityAmbulance.com