Did you know that donating blood doesn’t just help the recipients – it is beneficial for you too?

Let’s explore how donating blood can reduce certain health risks…

One of the benefits of giving blood is the intangible satisfaction that one gets from helping fellow humans in their time of need. The most vulnerable among us – people injured in accidents, cancer patients, and those battling blood diseases need a steady supply available. For many regular blood donors, this is the benefit they are seeking from the experience and don’t expect other rewards – but there are some unexpected benefits everyone should be aware of!

Blood Donation Benefits

  1. A free health screening. Dr. Robert DeSimone, director of transfusion services at New York Presbyterian Medical Center, states that “by going to donate blood, you are getting a mini-physical”. Before donation, vital signs are checked, and your blood donation will also be screened for infectious diseases. While this shouldn’t replace regular medical care – there have been instances where a finding led to a new diagnosis or caught something early. The health screening will also reveal if you have a rare blood type – this is very useful for you and your family to know if you are ever injured and need a transfusion yourself!
  1. A healthier heart and vascular system. Fascinatingly enough, regular blood donation is linked to lower blood pressure and a lower risk for heart attacks. The connection is that your blood donation might help to lower the viscosity of your blood, which has been associated with the formation of blood clots, heart attacks, and stroke. These benefits are more pronounced in men than women. There is even a condition called hereditary hemochromatosis where patients must have blood removed regularly to prevent the buildup of excess iron. This blood is also donated and given to those in need. 
  1. A happier, longer life. One blood donation can save up to three lives. People usually donate because it feels good to help others. This attitude of altruism, volunteerism, and generosity has been linked to positive mental health outcomes. There is a definite link, creating a lower risk for depression and greater longevity. One example is during the COVID-19 crisis. Many people wanted to help but didn’t know what to do. Donating blood was an excellent way to help others in their community who were suffering from illness. 

Karen Stockdale, RN, has more than 20 years experience in healthcare. She is also a medical and technical writer and editor.