“Are you here to donate blood today” the cute blond haired chick sitting at the front entrance asked me as I walked in.
“Yes I am”. I told her I registered online on the Red Cross website already. She looked me up and had me sign in on the paper pad. I sat down, grabbed a bottle of water, and begin drinking.
One thing about donating blood is you want to make sure you drink LOTS of water before coming in. It makes the blood flow faster when they stick the needle in your arm. I made the mistake before of coming in dehydrated and the blood just WOULDN’T come out. It was a waste of time and I had to go home. I try to at least drink two bottles of water before coming in to donate blood and a third one while I’m waiting.
Just as I finish my bottle of water, a nurse comes, calls my name, and has me come to the backroom. This is standard as they will take your blood pressure to make sure you’re healthy enough to donate blood. They will also prick your thumb to get a sample of your blood as well. Finally you answer a bunch of multiple choice questions about your health on a computer screen as the last frontier to make sure you’re healthy enough to donate blood.
If you want to avoid the whole questionnaire go on the Red Cross website before your appointment and answer all the questions. The nurse leads me outside to the blood donation beds. I lay down and she looks at both my right and left arm deciding which vein would be better for donating blood. She picks my left arm.
She sets up the sack and the tube where the blood will be transferred. She begins applying alcohol to my left arm and gives me a small gray round ball that I squeeze to apply pressure so the blood can flow nicely. Finally she injects the needle into my arm and I feel just a slight pain, and the blood being to flows. The nurse instructs me to squeeze and release the ball several times. I’m always amazed at the site of my own blood as I see it flowing out of my arm. It’s crazy to believe that’s what’s inside of you.
You probably think I’m some really nice guy who likes donating blood. The truth is that I strictly donate blood for health reasons and health reasons alone. If there were no real health benefits to donating blood I would probably do it once every couple of years just to say I did it to “help”. It doesn’t mean I’m an evil guy but I wouldn’t be going to donate blood every three months if I felt like there wasn’t anything in it for me.
Benefits of Donating Blood
Keep Iron Levels Low
Iron is an important dietary mineral used by your red blood cells to deliver oxygen to various parts of your body. Iron is a tightly regulated mineral in your body where too little iron can lead to Anemia, a condition where you body produces too little red blood cells. This can cause you to get tired easily, appear pale, and become short of breath. Today we have an opposite problem. Most people have too much iron in their body. Over a longer period of time excessive iron can have a negative effect on your body.
Too much iron in your body can lead to:
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
Iron in the natural world reacts with oxygen and rusts. Inside the body, it essentially does the same thing, causing high levels of oxidative stress.
The difference in iron levels between men and women has consequences.
Men of course die younger than women, and higher rates of heart disease in men is one of the main reasons for this. Men also have higher iron stores than women, because women lose small amounts of blood every month through menstruation. Since blood is the major iron storage organ, losing blood means losing iron. Post-menopausal women catch up with men in terms of iron stores, and later in life women catch up in terms of rates of heart disease.
You can read the rest here.
Foods Rich In Iron:
- Red meat
- much much more
Checkout the full list here.
Some of the healthy foods that we eat are rich in iron. That doesn’t make it a bad thing though. Most people would suggest to cut back on the iron rich food, but I say no.
Another way of getting rid of excess iron is blood loss. Donating blood is a great way to get rid of excess iron in the body. I donate blood regularly every 3 months.
Great Way To Get A Free Check Up
By free check up I mean it’s a great way to monitor your blood pressure.
Blood pressure say a lot about your health. Heart disease is one of the number one killers in the U.S. and a high blood pressure can be a sign of heart disease. I typical do two physicals a year and I regularly donate blood every 3 months. Over the course of a year I’m getting my blood pressure checked about 6 times with enough time in between each check up to change my diet if my blood pressure is a little bit too high.
Donating blood is not only great if you care about your fellow human being, but it’s also a hidden secret health benefit as well. Just one more thing to help you live a long and healthy life. Go to your nearest Red Cross and donate today.
P.S. Think about bringing good headphones with you to help pass the time by as you’re listening to music while donating blood.