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3 Ways That Donating Blood Can Save Your Life

Article Source: www.healthy-holistic-living.com

Blood donations have been a large part of American culture for years now. All across the United States, donor clinics have been established to take blood donations from anybody with a healthy supply. It may seem like a pretty one sided sacrifice, apart from the satisfaction of knowing that one pint of your blood has the potential to save three lives.

But did you know that donating your blood may bring you some health benefits as well?

It’s true. Researchers are finding that offering your blood also comes with some positive effects on your body. Maybe it’s karma, but here are three health benefits that scientists have found:

1. Donating Balances Iron Levels

Healthy blood doesn’t come without healthy levels of iron. Iron is an important component in hemoglobin, which is the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs throughout the rest of your body. So in short, it keeps you alive.

Now, that doesn’t mean that the more iron, the better. In fact, having too much iron is far worse than being iron deficient because your body has a hard time getting rid of it. Your body deposits iron in the liver, heart, and pancreas. This build up can lead to a whole mess of problems, such as cirrhosis, diabetes, liver cancer, and irregular heart beat.

Now, when you donate blood, you are not coming close to eliminating your own iron stores. Actually, a single unit donation (roughly 1 pint) of blood only results in a quarter gram of iron loss. This is far more healthy than it is dangerous, as it keeps your iron levels from getting too high.

2. Improved Blood Flow

High amounts of sugar, stress, and anxiety increase your blood pressure, making it harder to pump blood throughout your body. This is because your blood becomes a lot thicker, putting you at higher risk of blood clots and strokes. It can also cause tissue damage within the lining of your veins, because they are struggling to get that blood to where it needs to go.

Researchers are finding relationships between frequent blood donations and infrequency of blood pressure related problems, suggesting that donating blood really does help your blood pressure.

One belief is that donating blood limits damage to the blood vessel linings by reducing the amount of thickened blood being pushed through them. This results in fewer blockages in the arteries, meaning less heart problems in the future.

 3. You Find Out If You’re Healthy

When donating your blood for use with other patients, it’s pretty obvious that the samples are going to be examined to make sure the supply is healthy. The blood that is taken from you will be tested for 10-15 different diseases, including HIV, hepatitis B & C, syphilis, etc. It’s pretty much a free physical on top of your own precautions, and it can be done within a couple of hours.

There is a big misconception that donating blood is strictly an altruistic decision that yields no benefits in return, but that is simply untrue. While helping other people, you’re also maintaining the health of your own blood and circulation, ensuring that you live longer without the risk of heart related illnesses in the future.

Sources:

http://www.redcrossblood.org/learn-about-blood/blood-facts-and-statistics

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=blood+donation+heart+attack+American+Journal+of+Epidemiology

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23409890

 

 

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