© 2009 Dr.P.Elayaraja
I am a frequent blood donor. I have donated about 20 times in last 10 years and my last one was yesterday. I have the satisfaction of saving few lives, if not many.
Blood is a liquid connective tissue that maintains the life process by continuous circulation. It travels about 100,000 miles in just few hours. Blood cells originate in bone marrows. Bone marrow is the soft and spongy material in the centre of the bone.
Blood contains cells called the erythrocytes (RBC), leucocytes (WBC) and platelets suspended in a straw coloured fluid called the plasma. The primary function of RBC is to transport oxygen and carbon dioxide. They are characterized by the presence of haemoglobin (Hgb), an iron containing protein.
The white blood cells (WBC) fight against bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections. The platelets are responsible for blood clotting.
What is Blood donation?
There are fears that a blood donation will leave us deficient and thin. It is just a myth and the fact is just opposite. Blood donation is actually healthy for us. It ensures fresh blood production within our body and the donated blood is recovered within a short period of time.
Can I donate blood?
Yes you can, if you satisfy these conditions.
· A donor (men and women) should be between 18-55 years with a body weight of 50 kg and above.
· The pulse rate and temperature should be normal.
· The blood pressure should be within a normal range.
· Not in starvation or special dieting program.
Who can’t donate blood?
· Individuals with history of epilepsy, abnormal bleeding, asthma and cardiovascular problems.
· Pregnant, lactating and menstruating women.
· Those suffering from diseases like jaundice, malaria, hepatitis, measles and syphilis.
· People who have undergone surgery and blood transfusion.
· Individuals who have consumed alcohol.
How much blood is collected and what is done with it?
Only 350 -450 ml of blood is collected from us. Remember, we have 5-6 litres of blood flowing through our body. The withdrawn volume is restored within 24 hours and the haemoglobin and cell components are restored in 5-8 weeks. Therefore, we can donate blood every three months.
The blood is collected in a sterile containers (bags) containing anticoagulants, which prevent clotting and provides for the cells. The blood is stored at 2-6 C or -20 C depending on the component prepared.
The donated blood undergoes tests for blood grouping, tests for infections like hepatitis, AIDS, malaria and syphilis. Before it is given to the recipient, it undergoes the compatibility test. Blood from one donor can save 4 patients.
Who needs blood?
Someone needs blood every 2 seconds. The list is a long one, here are few recipients.
· Accident victims
· Premature babies
· Patients undergoing major surgeries require whole blood
· Patients suffering from anemia
· Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy
· Fresh frozen plasma is used for patients having massive transfusions
· Patients with hemophilia
Remember friends, your children, your parents, your grandparents, your relatives, your neighbors, your friends and even you may require blood due to some unfortunate conditions. Donate blood and save lives.
© 2009 Dr.P.Elayaraja