Blood Donation

Blood Donation

Donation of blood is a voluntary procedure that helps save lives of people suffering from severe blood loss. Blood donation is of several types, with each type helping meet different medical needs.

If you are interested in donating blood, you might want to know some details about the procedure. Donating blood is a safe and simple way to make a big difference in the life of someone who needs blood. Knowing what will happen prior to, during, and post donation can help you prepare for the process.

Donating blood is of immense significance for those who require blood transfusions. Donating blood can help:

  • People who lose blood during major surgeries
  • People who go through emergency situations or disasters
  • People who have experienced blood loss due to a gastrointestinal bleed.
  • Women who experience severe complications during childhood or pregnancy.
  • People with severe anaemia or cancer that occurs due to sickle cell diseases or thalassemia.

People who regularly donate blood also have some potential benefits:

  • Lower iron levels in blood
    This is beneficial for those people whose blood iron levels are too high. Some red blood cells, which carry iron throughout the body, are removed by donating blood.
  • Better cholesterol and triglyceride levels
    Research has shown that the total level of triglycerides, cholesterol, HDL, and LDL is low in people who regularly donate blood. The exact cause for this is not known.

Knowing that you helped someone, even if it is a stranger is emotionally rewarding.

Before You Donate

If you are interested in donating blood, you must meet the requirements like the eligibility criteria and prepare yourself properly.

Requirements for blood donation

You will first need to locate a blood bank and make an appointment. The healthcare providers there will let you know about any specific requirements for donors and any medications you might need to discontinue before donating blood.

Following are some eligibility criteria for blood donations:

  • Minimum weight of the donor should be 55 kg
  • The haemoglobin level should be at least 12.5 gm%
  • Age limit for blood donation is 18 years to 65 years.
  • Time interval of three months is necessary between two successive blood donations.
  • The donor should have sufficiently eaten before blood donation.
  • A voluntary blood donor should be free of any infectious diseases before making the donation.
  • He should have no history of any heart or lung disease or a seizure disorder.
  • He should disclose the details of any medication he is currently taking to the medical officer before donating blood.
  • He should avoid strenuous work or long driving post blood donation.
  • Exact platelet count, haemoglobin level, and haematocrit should be checked before donation. Platelet count should be 150,000 per microlitre of blood or more.
  • Donors should screen negative for transfusion transmitted diseases like malaria, Hepatitis B & C, HIV, and Syphilis.

A few weeks before donating blood, you must ensure that you are getting enough iron from your diet. Seafood and meat, as well as vegetables like sweet potatoes and spinach, are rich sources of iron. Certain fruits, breads, and other foods like tofu and beans can also be good options. On the day of your appointment, you must prepare yourself by consuming an adequate amount of fluids and wearing comfortable clothing. You should be able to easily roll up your sleeves above your elbow. Prepare a list of all the over-the-counter and prescription medications you are taking and share it with your healthcare provider.

Blood types are of different types. Those are classified according to the antigens present in the blood cells. Blood groups are of four main types— A, B, O, and AB. Sometimes, blood cells also contain a substance called Rh factor. Blood groups that have this factor are called Rh positive, while those that don’t are referred to as Rh negative. This is why blood types are referred to as O positive (O+) or B negative (B-). If a person is Rh positive, he can receive both negative or positive blood. However, an Rh negative person can receive only Rh negative blood.

Matching the blood type and other parameters in transfusions is very important. If these don’t match, the new blood will be attacked by its own antibodies and the person can get sick. Those with blood type O- are known as universal donors as this blood group is safe for transfusion for every recipient. In emergency situations, blood type O- is used and in such settings, there is no time to test the blood type of the person. Those whose blood group is AB+ is known as universal recipients because they are eligible to receive any type of blood.

Even though all of us have different blood types, the blood is made up of the same components. Blood has liquid and solid components. The solid part is made up of red and white cells and platelets. Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen. On the other hand, white blood cells protect the body against infection. Platelets help the blood clot. The liquid part of the blood is known as plasma. It contains protein, water, and salts.

You may only require certain blood components if you are receiving transfusion therapy. For example, only red blood cells may be needed for people with sickle cell disease and only platelets may be required for people with leukaemia.

If the blood of the donor and the recipient is not compatible, serious complications may occur. A simple blood draw is required after which the sample is sent to the laboratory for testing. You should share any reactions you had to previous blood transfusions with your healthcare provider. Let your doctor know if you are on dietary supplements. You will be directed to sign consent papers for transfusion therapy.

The process of donating blood can be broken into four steps:

  • Registration
  • Medical history and mini-physical
  • Donation
  • Refreshments

The entire process will take around an hour but the actual procedure of donating the blood takes only 5-10 minutes. If you are donating platelets, the time taken is longer as you will be connected with a machine that filters out the platelets from your blood and returns the rest of the blood back to you. This process takes around an hour or two.

1. Registration

When you reach the blood bank, you will be asked to fill a questionnaire that includes your general information including your personal particulars like name, age, and address, your medical history, drug history, past history, family history, and other such relevant information. This will help the healthcare providers decide whether or not you are fit to donate blood.

2. Medical history and mini-physical

Before you donate blood, a healthcare provider will perform a short physical examination on you and also ask some confidential questions about your lifestyle and health. Your blood pressure, pulse, and temperature will be checked and a sample of your blood will be tested. Some questions you might be asked include your recent travel history, your health history, sexual activity, and the medications you take.

Your blood will be tested to determine the blood type and rule out the presence of blood-borne diseases like cytomegalovirus infection, babesiosis, hepatitis B and C virus, syphilis, human T-lymphotropic virus, zika virus, west nile virus, and HIV. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies are tested in people who are donating blood for the first time and have previously been pregnant or those who have been pregnant since their last donation.

3. Donation

When the time of the actual donation comes, the following will happen:

  • You will be taken to the donor room and directed to lie down on a bed.
  • A healthcare provider will clean your arm and introduce a sterile needle into one of your arm veins. It can feel like a quick pinch and only take a few seconds.
  • About a pint of blood will be taken and the process is over in 5-10 minutes. However, if you are in for donating platelets, plasma, or red cells, the process can last for much longer— upto two hours.
  • After the process is over, you will be directed to raise your donation arm and pressure will be applied to the site of donating so that the bleeding stops and a clot is formed. Then, a bandage or an adhesive strip is put on the arm.

4. Refreshments

After you are done donating blood, you will be given a drink and some snacks to help you feel stronger and better since your body lost some amount of fluid. It is best to sit and relax for 10-15 minutes so that your strength is restored and you recover some of your energy before you leave.

Blood donation does not give rise to long-lasting side effects, however, you may temporarily:

  • Need to hydrate
    SAround 24-28 hours after donation, you should drink more non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Need to take it easy
    SDo not workout or perform strenuous physical activity for 24 hours after giving blood.
  • Feel lightheaded
    SYou should lie down for a few minutes until you are comfortable getting up again.
  • Bleed a little bit from the site of donation
    SRaise your arm a little and exert pressure to that spot for a couple of minutes. If that area is bruised, use an ice pack over it.

Illness can sometimes make it challenging for your body to create healthy blood cells. Some medical conditions that may require blood transfusions include cancer, anaemia, kidney disease, haemophilia, severe infections, liver disease, thrombocytopenia, and sickle cell disease.

Looking for a blood bank in Indore? If you are looking for a centre for blood transfusion in Indore, you can visit the Blood Centre and Transfusion Medicine Department at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore and seek help. Our department is equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure and advanced medical instruments. Our staff members are highly qualified and experienced and follow international protocols and quality standards at all times.