Blood Donation - What's in it for the Donor?

Donating blood is one of the most precious acts one can do for another fellow human. In fact, one blood donation saves not 1 but as many as 3 lives. You don’t really need a reason to donate blood. It is in you to give it voluntarily, giving the gift of life. To lay down the facts, there is a constant need for regular blood supply because blood can be stored for only a limited time before use and until date there is no replacement to human blood as therapy. Hence the saying “every drop counts”!

So what more is there to it? What comes close to saving a life? A lot more actually. Donating blood carries a wealth of benefits to the donors. It’s one of those win-win situations where the donor and the recipients massively gain. 

What Are The Benefits Of Blood Donation For A Donor?

  • Engaging in a humanitarian act –  While there are several physical benefits to donating blood, the most powerful health benefit is arguably psychological. Donating blood means that someone (or multiple people) somewhere will receive the help they desperately need. 
  • Reducing harmful iron stores –  Donating blood can lower the risk or may prevent the development of hemochromatosis, a condition in which there is an excess absorption of iron by the body. 
  • Reducing the risk of heart disease –  Regular blood donation keeps in check the iron levels, which lowers the risk of heart disease. A large amount of iron build-up in the body can cause oxidative damage which has proven to be a major culprit in accelerating aging, heart attacks and strokes.
  • Reducing the risk of cancer –  Higher levels of iron in the body can act as an invitation to cancer. By donating blood, you can maintain healthy iron levels, thereby lowering your risk of developing cancer.
  • Promoting new blood cell production –  Blood donation stimulates the production of new blood cells. After donating blood, your system gets to work within 48 hours of donation with the help of bone marrow to produce new blood cells. All the lost red blood cells are replaced within a span of 30 to 60 days.
  • Helping with weight loss –  every time you donate blood, your body burns calories. According to the University of California researchers, donating a pint of blood (450 ml) helps your body burn about 650 calories. But blood donation must not be thought of or encouraged as a weight loss plan, just as a little extra motivation to give!
  • Free health check-up – before you donate, you will be required to undergo a health screening whereby a trained staff checks your pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, and blood hemoglobin levels. Your blood is also tested for syphilis, HIV, hepatitis, and other diseases.

*Medical assessment before donating blood is a must to avoid any health issues.

What About The Health Benefits for Men specifically?

Studies have shown that, in general, most of us tend to consume more iron on a daily basis than is necessary for good health. Ingestion of iron beyond a certain quantity can promote the formation of free radicals in the body. Free radicals have justly earned their reputation for causing changes in body cells which can disrupt normal function and increase the risk of certain chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

This is more likely to be a problem for men and post-menopausal women, since women of child bearing age shed the excess iron through regular menstrual cycles. If a person happens to be a red meat eater, the risk for iron overload can be even higher.

Men tend to be already at a higher risk for heart disease in the UAE as elsewhere in the world, and are twice as likely as women to have a heart attack in their lifetime. So gents, donating blood on a regular basis is an easy and altruistic way of getting excess iron out of your system and decreasing the risk for heart disease.

Another heart disease marker that is effectively reduced by frequent blood donation is elevated hematocrit. Studies have shown that men who donated blood at least once a year had an 88 percent lower risk of heart attacks than men who were not donors, according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Men who donate blood regularly have also been shown to reduce their risk for strokes by up to 30%!


MYTHS & FACTS, let’s set the record straight! 

Donating blood is a simple, safe way to help save lives. Don’t let these myths stop you from donating blood. 

Myth 1: Blood donation is painful.
Fact: The only pain you’ll feel is the quick prick of the needle when it is inserted. The area may be slightly sore afterward, but any discomfort you feel is minor compared to this noble deed of blood donation.

Myth 2: It is unsafe to donate blood because I’m on medications.
Fact: Most medications do not interfere with the process of blood donation. However, it is best to speak to your doctor in advance to find out if you are eligible for blood donation.

Myth 3: Blood donation makes me weak.
Fact: Only about one pint of blood is collected. The average adult has approximately 10 pints of blood, and after donating, your body makes new blood to replenish what is lost within a few days. 

Myth 4: I can contract HIV or other infections.
Fact: A new sterile needle is used each time and is then immediately discarded. Stringent infection control practices are being followed to make this process safe and ensure minimal risk of infection to the donor.

Myth 5: I have diabetes so I cannot donate blood.
Fact: Having diabetes or high cholesterol does not disqualify you from donating blood, as long as you are otherwise healthy. However, you must ensure that your blood sugar levels are under control before the time of the donation.

Truth be told, one of the best things you can do for your health & others’ is to donate blood. Make a habit out of it!