You do not need a red cape to be a superhero. Your blood itself can save a lot of lives. An average adult has 10-12 pints of blood. You may have less or more depending on your size. When you donate blood, health workers take about 1 pint of blood which your body easily replaces in 24 hours. So basically blood donation for a healthy adult does not strain the body. According to Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service, Kenyans donate about 249,000 units of blood annually. The standard set by WHO is 400,000 units of blood per year so we can attain the Sustainable Development Goal 3 which is good health. Blood donation is in short supply especially from adults who only donate when there is a disaster. In line with this SDG, Barclays Bank is taking initiative and running a blood drive.
The blood drive will run from 30th April 2018. The initiative is in partnership with Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS). The purpose of this initiative is to help out those who are need of blood. You will often hear of people reaching out to their friends and family for blood donation when one of their loved ones needs it. Some even go as far as advertising it on radio stations. Most Kenyans, in general, have experienced the struggle to get blood and that is one of the main reasons for this blood drive.
So apart from saving a life, why should you donate blood? Did you know that blood donation has health benefits to the donor?
Your Iron levels stay balanced
A healthy adult has about 5 grams of iron in their bodies at a given time. This is found in the red blood cells but mostly the bone marrow. Irons affinity to oxygen helps our red blood cells distribute haemoglobin to our bodies. When you have too little iron in the blood, you may experience fatigue and fainting spells which are anaemia-related symptoms. While iron may be an essential vitamin for human health, too much of it is actually unhealthy. Having too much of iron is actually more common than iron deficiencies. Our bodies lack the capacity to excrete excess iron. When iron builds up in your organs, it becomes a potential threat since it is an oxidiser and can damage normal tissues. This can contribute to diseases such as liver cancer, diabetes and cardiac arrhythmias. So donating blood is a way to rid your body of excess iron.
You get a mini health checkup.
When you take the initiative to donate blood, you go through somewhat of a free checkup. The health worker taking your blood checks your weight, pulse, and blood pressure. Additionally, once your blood is taken to the lab it is tested for, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Syphilis and HIV. All these tests are done for you for free. All you have to do is visit the centre where you donated blood and claim your results as well as your blood donation card.
Helps in weight loss
First and foremost, to donate blood you need to weigh 50kgs or 110 pounds and above. According to a study by The University of California, donating blood helps one burn calories. One burns approximately 650 calories per every pint of blood donated. This is also approximately how much weight you may lose engaging in an exercise class like a spin class. However, nobody advocates for blood donation as a means to lose weight. It should also not be a substitute for eating healthy and exercising. To donate blood you are still required to be healthy and weigh a certain amount. You should also wait three months for males and four months for females before you go for another round of donation.
Stimulates blood Replenishment
Normally, your red blood cells have a lifespan of 100-120 days.When you donate blood, your body replenishes the plasma in about 24 hours. Your body takes about 2 weeks to produce new red blood cells. The body senses a decrease in the levels of oxygen and causes the kidney to release a protein. This protein sends a message to the stem cells in the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells as opposed to white blood cells or platelets. So when you donate blood, your body replenishes your red blood cells quicker than it would normally do.