THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BLOOD DONATION
Blood donation is likened to a gift of life. Since life cannot be bought with money or any valuable commodity, saving a life is the most precious gift anyone can receive.
What is blood?
Blood is the main body fluid in humans (or most animals). It transports gases including oxygen and some nutrients to cells. It also transports metabolic waste products released from these cells to excretory (expelling) organs. Think of it as a highway system taking people to and from different places.
The composition of blood makes its very essential for life. Red blood cells carry oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of tissue respectively. Platelets prevents bleeding and easy bruising. Plasma is the liquid component of blood that keeps blood content intact and physiologically stable.
A blood type is a classification of blood, based on the presence and absence of antibodies and inherited antigenic substances on the surface of red blood cells.-Wikipedia
Who needs blood?
Well duh! We all do! So why should I give my blood away? Won’t it affect me? What will happen to my highway system? Why do they need my blood than I do? All good questions, which could terrify you at first.
“A bottle of blood saved my life, was it yours?“
It’s probably a good thing then that blood donation is safe and actually has some physiological benefits we will get into in a bit but aside that there are the moral benefits.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), blood transfusion is needed urgently for:
- Women with complications of pregnancy, such as ectopic pregnancies and hemorrhage before, during or after childbirth.
- Children with severe anemia often resulting from malaria or malnutrition.
- People with severe trauma following man-made and natural disasters.
- Many complex medical and surgical procedures and cancer patients since these people will lose a lot of their own blood.
- Regular transfusion in patients with blood disorders such as thalassemia and sickle cell disease.
- Making products such as clotting factors for patients with Hemophilia.
Facts you need to know about blood
- In the U.S. about 36,000 units of blood are on demand every day. Almost 7000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed every day.
- According to the American Red Cross, nearly 21 million blood components are transfused every year.
- The NPR estimates that about 300,000 births are affected with Sickle cell anemia worldwide each year. Blood transfusion can be required in sickle cell patients all their lives.
- A victim of car accident can require as much as 100 pints of blood before recovery
- Blood type O is the most demanded Blood type in hospitals. Blood type O individuals are termed “Universal donors”.
- According to the World Health Organization, an increase of 10.7 million blood donations from voluntary unpaid donors has been reported from 2008 to 2013. In total, 74 countries collect over 90% of their blood supply from voluntary unpaid blood donors; however, 71 countries collect more than 50% of their blood supply from family/replacement or paid donors.
Positive effects of Blood Donation
- Positive weight loss is seen in frequently donating individuals. One pint of blood donated could burn about 650 calories. This decreases the risk for obesity and development of cardiovascular conditions.
- Blood donation is good for your heart since it reduces the viscosity and thickness of blood.
- Blood donation lowers the risk of developing cancers since Iron concentration in blood can induce free radical (reactive ions) reactions that lead to cancers. And guess what blood donation reduces these Iron stores within tissues.
Donate some blood to save a life and YOUR life.