Have you ever considered the vital importance of blood? Millions of people need it for transfusions each year. Some need it during surgery. Others depend on it after an accident or because they have a disease. And, given all those needs, there is currently no substitute for it; it is simply an indispensable (yet scarce) resource of the healthcare ecosystem. And where does blood come from? Blood donations, of course! All transfusions use blood from a donor: a person (just like you) who volunteers to give away their blood to help other people who may need it more. In this article, we’ll review the importance and benefits of donating blood, both for the recipients and the donors who make it all possible.
Why is Donating Blood Important?
With roughly 40,000 pints of blood used every day in hospitals around the United States, the demand for blood is never ending. Unfortunately, of the 38 percent of the U.S. population who is eligible to donate blood, less than 10% actually do (according to the American Red Cross). Moreover, because there is no such thing as synthetic blood, donations are the only way to keep a reliable supply. This means that this life-saving resource is nearly always under threat of diminishing, making volunteers the literal lifeblood of the entire blood bank operation.
Benefits of Donating Blood
Donating blood is the healthcare equivalent of philanthropy. Just like currency, blood can be used for a wide range of circumstances and can help nearly anyone. Mothers in labor and premature babies need blood just as much as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, or elderly patients with anemia. In addition, many complex medical and surgical procedures also require copious amounts of blood.
Blood donation could save someone’s life. In situations that are immediately life-threatening, such as patients undergoing treatment from auto-accidents, stab or gunshot wounds, or explosions, your blood donation could save someone’s life. Indeed, giving your blood is perhaps the most precious gift you can give other people, because through your donation, you’re giving them the gift of life.
Donating blood regularly helps your blood flow better. Studies show that repeated blood donations may help your blood flow slower, in ways that are less damaging to the lining of the blood vessels. This can result in fewer arterial blockages and can even protect against heart attacks and strokes.
Donating blood can potentially help you live longer. Research has found that people who regularly volunteer to donate blood for altruistic reasons have a reduced risk of dying within four years. Moreover, donating blood has also been shown to promote the regulation of iron in your bloodstream, which can reduce your chances of developing blood-related diseases, heart attacks and strokes in the future.
Blood donations are a free, mini check-up. Before donating blood, donors first have to complete a physical that measures their pulse, temperature, blood pressure, and hemoglobin levels (which measures the amount of oxygen in the blood). After your blood is collected, it’s then sent to a lab where it’s checked for infectious diseases (HIV, West Nile virus, syphilis, etc.). If anything comes back positive, you’ll be notified immediately of previously unknown health concerns. If it comes back negative, you’ll know your healthy. Either way, blood donations are an easy, efficient and free way to get a medical checkup without having to wait in line at the doctor’s office.
Donating blood can help you feel good about yourself. Did you know: Donating your blood can potentially help (or save the lives) of 3 people(!). Knowing you made the difference can help relieve stress, minimize egocentrism, and make you feel good about yourself, to boot. Call it a three-pronged approach to better psychological health!
Donating blood is a community good. With one in seven people entering the hospital in need of blood (and someone in the U.S. in need of blood every 2 seconds), it’s highly likely that someone in your local community likely needs blood right this moment. Regularly donating your blood can help ensure that they get the blood they need, when they need it. Moreover, your blood donations have the potential to impact dozens of people in your community, and can help encourage people to do the same for you if you find yourself in need.
Speak to Harbor Light Hospice For More Information
We hope this informative article has helped expand your knowledge of the importance of blood donation and its benefits. Whether by improving your health, doing a social good or saving someone’s life, donating blood is a priceless gift for blood donation beneficiaries and donors alike. To learn more about the benefits of donating blood, or to find out how you can donate your blood, contact Harbor Light Hospice online today!