World Blood Donor Day 2018: Weight loss and four other surprising health benefits of donating blood

World Blood Donor Day is aimed at raising awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure the quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products for patients in need. Here are five surprising health benefits of donating blood.

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According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), blood transfusion saves lives, but many patients needing transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood. Transfusion of blood can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with a higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. By donating blood, you’re helping in saving lives, but that’s not all. Blood donation is also found to be beneficial to the people who donate blood. Here are five surprising health benefits of donating blood:

Weight loss

Regular blood donation helps in losing weight and improving fitness in healthy adults. According to consultants, donating one pint of blood (450 ml) helps your body burn about 650 calories. But it should not be thought or used as a weight loss plan. You must consult a doctor before donating blood to avoid any health issues.

Prevents hemochromatosis

Donating blood helps prevent or reduce your risk of developing hemochromatosis, a condition that occurs due to excess absorption of iron by the body. Regular blood donation may help avoid iron overload, hence it can be beneficial for people with hemochromatosis. However, it’s imperative to ensure that the donor with hemochromatosis meets the standard blood donation eligibility criteria.

Reduces heart disease risk

Regular blood donation helps to keep iron levels in check, which reduces the risk of heart disease. An excessive iron buildup in the body can cause oxidative damage, a major culprit in accelerating ageing, heart attacks, strokes, etc.

Lowers cancer risk

High levels of iron in the body are linked to an increased risk of cancer. Thus, by donating blood, you can maintain healthy iron levels, thereby lowering your risk of developing cancer.

Enhances new blood cell production

Blood donation helps to enhance the production of new blood cells. After donating blood, your body starts replenishing immediately. It is said that within 48 hours of donating, new blood cells are produced by marrow and all the lost red blood cells are replaced within one to two months. This process helps in maintaining good health.

Note: Donating blood is a safe procedure and is not harmful to the donor. However, always consult a doctor before donating blood, especially if you have any health issues or concerns.

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