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Surprising Benefits of Donating Blood

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The month of January is recognized as National Blood Donor Month, an opportunity to roll up your sleeve and save a life. A blood transfusion occurs in the U.S. every two seconds, but only three percent of the eligible population donates blood each year.1

The winter months are one of the most difficult times to maintain a sufficient blood supply. Last year at this time, the American Red Cross declared a national blood crisis due to its shortage, and the Blood Bank of Hawai‘i was making a plea for more donors a few months ago to help boost its supply.23

Donating blood is not only good for the community and hospital patients in need, but it also offers heart healthy lifestyle benefits for the donor. Below are three surprising advantages for routinely giving blood.

Free Health Screening

Before you can donate your blood, you will need to do a screening or a mini-physical. This will include checking your pulse, blood pressure, temperature, hemoglobin levels and more. It will provide you with helpful information such as learning your blood type. The screening can also indicate potential health issues before they become more significant. It might flag that you have high blood pressure or a heart arrhythmia like atrial fibrillation. It may also uncover an infectious disease. While this does not replace routine physician appointments, donating blood on a regular basis can help you keep tabs on your own health.

Healthier Heart

Regular blood donation is linked to lower blood pressure and a reduced risk for heart attacks. A study by the American Journal of Epidemiology found that middle-aged male blood donors had an 88 percent reduced risk of a heart attack. High levels of iron in the blood can cause blood flow issues leading to more blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. Donating on a regular basis helps to remove the extra iron.4

Mental Health Benefits

There are feel-good benefits associated with donating blood and knowing that you helped others. One donation can help save more than one life.5 Volunteering and giving are often linked to positive health outcomes, including a reduced risk for depression. As you begin this new year, make it a goal to donate blood on a regular basis. Learn more about who can give blood, what to expect and where to go from the American Red Cross and the Blood Bank of Hawaii.

1 https://americasblood.org/statistics_guide/
2 https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2021/help-save-lives-during-national-blood-donormonth.html
3 https://www.bbh.org/news/#news-stories
4 https://bit.ly/3HtvR8K
5 https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/how-blood-donations-help/blood-needs-bloodsupply.html

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