Donate Blood, Save Lives — and Improve Your Own Health

  • By Lockport Express Medical
  • 13 Feb, 2016
You know that donating blood is important. But do you know how important? In honor of National Blood Donor Month, we’re taking a hard look at the numbers. And they are truly staggering:

  • Someone is in need of blood every 2 seconds.
  • More than 41,000 blood donations need to be made every single day.
  • 4 million people could die every year without blood transfusions.
  • 38% of the population is eligible for donating blood, but less than 10% actually do.

Clearly, donating blood is helpful to others (and by helpful, we mean life-saving!). What many people don’t realize is that donating blood is good for the donor as well! Donating blood has been shown to:

  1. Uncover potential health problems. Doctors can determine if you have any health problems and address them before more serious issues arise.
  2. Reduce harmful iron stores. One in every 200 people is affected by a condition called hemochromatosis that causes an iron overload and can trigger heart attacks and strokes.
  3. Reduce your risk of suffering a heart attack. Donating blood once a year can reduce your risk of a heart attack by 88% and 80% in reducing the risk of a major stroke. High levels of iron in your blood can cause heart attacks and strokes.
  4. Reduce your risk of developing cancer. Patients who regularly donate blood have a lower risk of developing cancer and suffering a stroke than those who do not.
  5. Gives you a sense of significance. Donating blood means someone somewhere will be getting the blood they need. The average donation is about 1 pint, and every pint can help save 3 people — which means you could help nearly 20 people a year!

You may have underlying concerns about donating blood. Let us allay a few common concerns:

  1. Side effects are rare and — when they do happen — minimal.
  2. Donating blood is incredibly safe.
  3. Donating blood is quick and easy — according to the Red Cross, the process takes about an hour and 15 minutes.

Bottom line: not only does donating blood help people in great need, but it is good for you, too!

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