Blood Donation – The Importance

Blood Donation - Sri Ramakrishna Hospital

Blood Donation – The Importance

Blood is the most essential component of the human body. The circulatory system provides nutrition, protection and literally breathes life into every organ of the body by transporting oxygen to and carrying away carbon dioxide to the lungs to breathe out. In other words, it is the most precious gift that one can give to a fellow human.

As per data from the World Health Organization, around 118.5 million donations are made every year on an average.

What is Blood Donation?

Blood donation is a simple process wherein one needs to find the nearest and safest blood donation hospital or a plasma donation centre, register themselves as donors, and set an appointment. On the day of donation, the vitals are measured first; parameters include body temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and haemoglobin levels. It is followed by a medical history examination of the donor to ensure safety and eligibility. 

Once deemed suitable, the donor is made to lie down, and a sterile needle is injected to draw the blood from the veins and collected in a medical pouch. The process usually takes 10-15 mins, after which the donor is told to relax for some time and is provided with some form of refreshment before leaving.

Blood transfusion is when the stored blood is inserted into the body of the recipient through medical procedures.

What are the different types of blood donation?

There are different types of blood donations depending on the component that is required for donation. It can be blood plasma, platelets, or double red cell donation. These require different procedures and checklists depending on the situation and conditions to be treated. Generally, these processes involve an apheresis machine that separates blood components.

Who can donate blood?

Anyone meeting the following criteria can be a donor:

  • Above the age of 18 years (up to 65 years in India) and with a minimum weight of 110 pounds (approximately 49-50Kg).
  • Children can donate under exceptional cases with expert supervision and parental consent (not below 16 years in some countries).
  • Pulse rate should be between 50 and 100 without irregularities.
  • A minimum of 12.5 g/dL haemoglobin.
  • Should not have hypertension (Diastolic Blood Pressure between 50 and 100 mmHg and Systolic between 100 and 180 mmHg).
  • Does not have any underlying chronic or acute health condition like terminal cancer, thalassemia, haemophilia, active viral infections, anaemia, cholesterol, dialysis, and cardiovascular issues (the only reason being the impact on one’s own health after donation).
  • Anyone with a possible risk of having contracted an infection through direct or indirect contact is requested to have a 3-6 month gap before planning to donate blood.
  • Has had a break of at least 8 weeks from the episode of blood donation or at least 16 weeks from the last episode of blood component donation. A healthy donor can donate at least every 56 days.

Who needs blood donation/transfusion?

  • Patients (especially the elderly) undergoing complex surgical procedures involving heavy bleeding.
  • Children (mostly under 5 years) who are anaemic due to malaria and malnutrition.
  • Cancer patients
  • Patients dealing with severe trauma following a natural or manmade disaster.
  • Women dealing with ectopic pregnancies and haemorrhage before, during, or after the process of childbirth. 

Blood samples collected from every donor at blood donation centres undergo a series of tests to monitor the presence of pathogens or other impurities that may hamper the intent of donation and the health of the recipient. Blood collected can only be stored for a little longer than a month in blood banks. It is advisable for every healthy individual to donate blood and save a life whenever possible – Best Haematology hospital in Coimbatore

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