It is a fact that if it were not for blood donors, many people would not be alive today. A simple act of taking out 3 minutes to give a pint of blood can save someone’s life and this is precious for many who are dealing with long-term treatments. There is always a demand for blood and if there is a reason that awareness should be created, then it is because people still lack the basic knowledge of the process and there are myths surrounding it. On World Blood Donation day, it is time to shed some light on this act that has the capacity to save lives.
A few important numbers
Within India itself there seems to be a wide disparity between the need and the supply. For instance, a place like Bihar where the demand is high, the deficit is as high as 85% and New Delhi has a surplus of about 200%. The shortfall that India faces overall comes up to 12 lakh units and that is quite a big number and unless the younger generation steps up to the challenge and gets involved, we have a long way to go before we bridge this gap.
Health benefits of donating blood
It is important to remember that you are not only causing a change in another person's life when you donate blood but you are also changing how your body works. There are several health benefits of donating blood and the most important ones are:
- Reduces risk of cancer: Several studies maintain that excessive iron content in the body can be linked to the onset of cancer. Regular blood donation can reduce the heart attack chances by 88% and chances of stroke by 33%
- Improves heart health: Another great benefit of donating blood is the control of weight gain resulting in lower risk of heart ailments.
- Boosts body functioning: Donating blood ensures that your heart and liver continue to perform at their peak.
- Promotes production of new cells: When you donate blood, your body works to replace the lost cells and this encourages production of good and healthy blood cells promoting good health.
- Limits iron absorption: Hemochromatosis is a condition where your body tends to absorb an excess of iron and by donating blood, you can limit or reduce the iron absorption in your body.
- Burns calories: A regular practice of blood donation can improve the fitness. People who donate 450 ml of blood burn about 650 calories which can promote weight loss.
- Free medical check-up:Just being fit is not enough to donate blood. There are series of medical tests that are conducted before the donation which can help in detecting the presence of any medical problem and seeking help at the earliest.
- Mood upliftment: The “feel good” factor is irreplaceable especially when you know you have played a part in saving someone’s life.
- Feeling of altruism: Being part of a community that encourages “good acts” which in turn contributes to the welfare of others.
- Painful: It is the biggest myth that donating blood can be painful. If you have ever taken a blood test, you will know what it should feel like. If you are donating to a hospital or an authorized blood collection center, you will find that they are trained to take blood which means that you will not feel more than a pinprick!
- Sickness after donation: If anything, you should know that you are encouraging your body to get better. By removing blood, you are encouraging your body to produce fresh and healthy blood cells making you healthier.
Donation does not have to mean money. You have the world’s most precious resource at your disposal and one that replenishes once you have given. So, go ahead donate blood and save a life!