Surprising health benefits of donating blood
Most people know that donating blood saves lives, but they are often less aware of the health benefits of blood donation for themselves. However, in addition to ensuring the emergency rooms and surgical suites have the blood supplies they need to help patients who need urgent care, donating blood can have a profound effect on your own well-being, beyond the knowledge that you are saving someone else’s life. If you’re trying to decide if donating blood is right for you, consider these health benefits.
Reduced heart disease risk
If you donate blood on a regular basis, it could help to reduce your risk of heart disease. Blood donations reduce the risk of iron in your body, which is beneficial for people with high levels, as excessive iron in your blood can lead to oxidative damage to your internal organs.
Oxidative damage is linked to heart disease because it often affects blood vessels and the heart itself. This damage can lead to both heart attacks and strokes. Men are particularly at risk for oxidative damage, which regular blood donations can help to manage.
Reduced cancer risk
Oxidative damage doesn’t just increase the risk of heart disease. There is also evidence that it is linked with some kinds of cancer. As donating blood reduces the amount of iron in your body, it could also decrease your cancer risk. Research is ongoing to explore this link.
One thing doctors do know for sure is that donating blood does not increase your risk of cancer, which is a myth that has persisted about blood donation in the past.
Free health check-up
You have to be in good physical health to donate blood, so every time you make a donation, you get a mini health checkup for free. Your temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and hemoglobin levels will all be checked, which could alert you to a potential health issue you should review with your physician.
Donated blood plays a critical role in the care we provide at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center. Consider talking to your physician about whether you are healthy enough to donate blood, or call our hospital in Thousand Oaks at (877) 888-5746 to learn more about blood donation in our community.