By Karla Alnajm
Becoming a blood donor is the greatest gift you can give. Even if you have been putting this off for some time, it is never too late to join Canada’s lifeline. This act of selflessness will give someone in need the gift of life. Additionally, there can be some great health benefits to becoming a donor!
During your visit, you will be provided a free medical check-up and will be alerted to any abnormalities that are found. Your blood will be screened for 13 infectious diseases, including hepatitis B and C, and HIV to name a few, as stated by the Canadian Blood Services.
Studies have shown that donating blood can aid in the regulation of iron levels; thus lowering the risk of developing several diseases, including hemochromatosis and cancer. According to Hampson (2016), 1 in 300 Canadians are diagnosed with hemochromatosis. This is a disease in which your body stores too much iron. An excess iron in blood causes the release of free radicals, which are harmful to the growth, development and survival of tissues in the body.
Not only does hemochromatosis affect your body cells, it can decrease insulin sensitivity and impair insulin release (Raju & Venkataramappa, 2018). Since insulin is important for the regulation of blood sugar, a decreased insulin sensitivity puts you at a greater risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
Each unit of blood that you donate can be divided into three components—red blood cells, plasma, and platelets—each of which can be used separately to save a life. One pint of blood is all it takes to save three lives! One hour of your time can change a life for the better.
1- Donation Testing. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.blood.ca/en/hospital-services/products/donation-testing
2- Hampson, M. (2016, May 04). Hemochromatosis and why blood loss can be a form of therapy. Retrieved Sep 25, 2020, from https://www.blood.ca/en/research/our-research-stories/research-education-discovery/hemochromatosis-and-why-blood-loss-can
3- Raju, K., & Venkataramappa, S. M. (2018). Primary Hemochromatosis Presenting as Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Case Report with Review of Literature. International journal of applied & basic medical research, 8(1), 57–60. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijabmr.IJABMR_402_16