Donating blood is a good thing. There are a whole lot of sick people out there who need blood, and your blood could fill somebody’s need. And for every surgery that is performed at any hospital, there has to be at least a few bags of blood on standby, just in case. Altruism must be the primary motivation for donating blood.
However, giving some of your life fluid does not only potentially save a person’s life and make you a hero, but if you are wondering what could be in it for you other than soft, gooey feelings, it has a lot of health benefits too.
First of all, you get to check on your overall health. Before you could give blood, the blood bank or clinic you go too has to screen your blood for various diseases, including HIV, hepatitis and a host of other viral and bacterial diseases. The mini-physical also checks on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, so you would be aware of any red flags those tests might raise.
Donating blood also lowers your risk of heart disease. The medical community is not quite certain why that is, but research shows that heart attacks are 88% less likely in regular blood donors. The prevailing theory is that donating blood gets iron out of the system and thins out the blood, thereby lowering the risk of arteriosclerosis and blood clots. It’s probably like spring cleaning. Getting all that old blood out and letting your body manufacture new blood could get the cobwebs out of your circulatory system.
Furthermore, too much iron in the system is linked to certain cancers, so blood donation could lower the risk of cancer as well. A study of 1,200 bi-annual blood donors has shown a lower incidence of cancer than the same number of non-donors.
And here’s the clincher: you burn 650 calories for every pint you donate. Your body has to replenish your blood supply after all, and that takes some energy. Isn’t that awesome an awesome deal for a few minutes of lying down with a needle in your vein? Just like in Optima.