January 4th, 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:
- Uncover potential health problems. Doctors can determine if you have any health problems and address them before more serious issues arise.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Side effects are rare and — when they do happen — minimal.
- Donating blood is incredibly safe.
- 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!