Can You Explain The Blood Donation Process
Donating blood takes about an hour from the time you arrive until you are ready to leave. First, you must complete a registration form with basic information such as your name, address, and birthdate. You must also present identification that shows your name and your photo or signature.
Then, one of our medical professionals will check your blood pressure, temperature, and hemoglobin level take a look at your arm to make sure it is clear of any signs of infection or intravenous drug use and ask you confidential questions about your health to ensure that you are eligible to donate blood that day.
The actual donation takes between ten and 20 minutes. Afterward, you will be given juice and/or water to replenish the fluid donated and refresh you before you leave the Blood Donor Room. There are also cookies available for a snack.
What Do We Measure And When
In most of our blood donor centres, well collect a few blood drops from a finger prick, but in some centres well use a blood sample collected from the vein just before you donate.
This test will measure your red blood cells.When you give blood, youre giving red cells, so youll have a temporary drop in your haemoglobin level. We just want to make sure your haemoglobin is high enough for you to safely donate.
Note: Haemoglobin doesnt measure iron stores. In early iron deficiency, the haemoglobin will be normal. We dont check your iron levels because there is currently no suitable testing device available to measure iron levels in our donor centres.
The minimum haemoglobin level needed to donateblood is 120g/L for women and 130g/L for men.
Minimum level for plasma and platelets
The minimum haemoglobin level to donate plasma or platelets is 115g/L for women and 125g/L for men. Its lower for plasma and platelets because you get your red blood cells back during the donation. Find out more about donating plasma.
You wont be able to donate on the day. If that happens, wellsend a blood sample to our lab to measure your ferritin levels, which tells us your iron levels.
We do this because the most common cause of low haemoglobin is low iron. Other causes include blood loss or deficiencies in B12 or folate. For some people, a level near the lower limit may be normal.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Donating Blood
Most people experience no side effects when giving blood. After donating blood, youll be asked to wait in the refreshments area for 10 to 15 minutes to make sure youre feeling OK.
Once youve had a snack and something to drink, you can return to your daily activities. The Red Cross recommends avoiding heavy lifting and vigorous exercise for the rest of the day.
If youre a frequent blood donor, you may want to talk to your doctor about iron supplements. It can take
Why Haemoglobin Levels Might Be Too Low To Donate
There are three common reasons:
- Variation between people some of us just normally have a low-ish level.
- Iron we all need iron to make haemoglobin. If your iron stores are low, the haemoglobin may fall below normal .
- Testing procedure while we take great care with our test on the session, occasionally it underestimates the amount of haemoglobin in the blood.
How Much Iron Is Needed To Replace The Iron Lost In One Whole Blood Donation
New studies show that lower doses of iron that are available in multivitamins or over-the-counter iron supplements are as effective as higher doses in prescription iron when taken for 60 days to replenish the iron lost with blood donation and are associated with fewer side effects.
It is recommended that donors take an over-the-counter multivitamin with iron or iron supplement with 18 mg or 27 mg iron before their next blood donation. You should discuss blood donation and any supplements that you take with your healthcare provider.
Why Blood Centers Check Your Hemoglobin
To start, lets have a quick refresher on why hemoglobin is so important to your overall health. Hemoglobin is a protein in your red blood cells that helps carry oxygen to your bodys organs and tissues to ensure they can function properly.
This is hemoglobin, a protein responsible for transporting oxygen via your blood cells, and is what gives blood its red color. Its important to keep your levels in check to ensure your body has the resources it needs to function.
Since hemoglobin is found in the blood, theres going to be a decrease in your levels when you donate. Thats why you might feel a bit woozy when you try to get out of the chair once your donation is complete.
Your body almost immediately starts to form new red blood cells, which replenishes our hemoglobin levels. But if you didnt have enough red blood cells to begin with, your body might struggle to produce enough healthy new ones.
Imagine for a second that your body is a smartphone, and hemoglobin is the electricity that charges it. If you wait for your phone to get to zero percent its going to take a while before its fully charged, but if you plug it in at 40% it might only take a few minutes to get back to 100%.
Why Do I Have Low Hemoglobin
The most common reason for low hemoglobin is low iron stores. Iron is needed to make red blood cells. Low iron stores can lead to fatigue and decreased exercise capacity.
Causes of low iron include:
- Not enough iron in your diet
- Frequent blood donation
- For women, menstrual blood loss
- More rarely, gradual bleeding in the digestive tract, such as stomach or colon.
Read Also: Hct Blood Test Normal Range
Other Blood Related Conditions
Your blood pressure is the force of blood pushingagainst your blood vessel walls. When you have high blood pressure,the pressure in your arteries is elevated. One in four adults has high blood pressure. Whenuntreated, it can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, so it isoften called the “silent killer.” The only way to tell if you havehigh blood pressure is to get it checked regularly.
To learn more about Blood Pressure, .
Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like waxy substance foundin the bloodstream and in all your body’s cells. Everyone hascholesterol in their body. It is important for the production ofcells and some hormones and helps with other bodily functions.
Your body makes all of the cholesterol it needs, butit also gets cholesterol from foods. If you have too muchcholesterol in your blood, your body can’t get rid of it and it canbuild up in your arteries. Then, you could be at risk for heartdisease or stroke.
To learn more about Cholesterol, .
Hemoglobin And Blood Donations: Why It Matters
Editors Note: This article is for informational purposes only. You should not use it to replace any professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any health issues. Any questions about your blood health should be directed toward a physician, hematologist, or other licensed healthcare professional.
Low hemoglobin levels could cause you to be turned away at the blood center. Heres what you need to know before you head to your appointment.
Its the day of your blood donation appointment and youve got everything set. You ate a healthy dinner the night before, drank plenty of water, got a great nights sleep, and had an iron-rich breakfast before heading to the blood center.
You get there andyoure told youre not allowed to donate that day.
There are a few reasons why this might happen, but one of the biggest could be that your hemoglobin levels were low that day. Every blood center checks your hemoglobin levels before you can donate, and may turn away certain people if they test too low.
In this piece, well go over why you might be turned away from a blood bank due to low hemoglobin levels, what you can do to get them back to normal, and how you can know what your levels are before heading to your next appointment.
Recommended Reading: Diabetes And High Blood Pressure Treatment
Ways To Increase Hemoglobin For Blood Donation
It is important to note that deferred donors are just those who are unable to donate blood on the planned donation day. Theres a good chance youre curious in why this happens and what you can do to prevent it. Youll find the following information useful in putting things into perspective. So, how to increase hemoglobin for blood donation? Use the following strategies to increase hemoglobin levels:
Can I Come Back To Donate
Most people who have a low hemoglobin are able to improve their iron level and hemoglobin count and successfully donate.
It can take 4-6 months to rebuild your iron stores. Your doctor can help you decide when to donate again.
If your doctor has started you on iron pills, you may return to donate 6 months after starting them, if your hemoglobin and iron levels are back to normal.
Once your iron is back to normal and if you plan to donate regularly, speak to your doctor or pharmacist about taking over the counter iron pills to prevent low iron.
Consider limiting how often you donate blood to twice a year for women and three times a year for men.
You May Like: Antihistamine And High Blood Pressure
Eating For Good Blood: Tips For Boosting Iron Levels And Hemoglobin
Please keep in mind that there may be newer information about iron and blood donation. For additional information, check out our Iron and Blood Donation page.
Ever showed up at Stanford Blood Center, all set to help others, only to be turned away because of a low iron count? The rationale for excluding around 10% of potential donors is that they have a low hemoglobin level or a low blood count . Deferred donors arent able to donate blood on the given day. The most likely questions on your mind are: Why does this happen, and what can I do about it? The following details should help clarify things for you.
When it comes to blood donation, what is iron and why is it important?
Foods include iron, which is a vitamin converted into hemoglobin in your red blood cells when it is combined with specific proteins. Because they transport oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, red blood cells are vital. There are not enough red blood cells in your body to donate blood when your iron and hemoglobin levels are insufficient. Iron deficiency can make you feel fatigued, and it can even cause organ damage if it is too low. A low blood count can be caused by a variety of factors, including a lack of iron-rich foods in ones diet, excessive blood donation, chronic disease, or other unknown causes.
Having a blood test
Is there anything I can do to raise my hemoglobin levels before I give?
What Does Hematocrit Mean
Hematocrit is the percentage by volume of red cells in your blood. Blood is made up of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, suspended in plasma. Together, those comprise about 45% of the volume of our blood, but the specific percentages of each can vary.
What Is a Hematocrit Level?
Hematocrit level is simply the percentage of red cells in your blood. For example, a level of 38% is considered the minimum needed for donating blood.
What Is Normal Hematocrit?
Normal hematocrit levels vary based on age and race.. In adults, normal levels for men range from 41%-50%. For women, the normal range is slightly lower: 36%-44%. A hematocrit level below the normal range, meaning the person has too few red blood cells, is called anemia. A hematocrit level above the normal range, meaning too many red blood cells, may indicate polycythemia or erythrocytosis.
Why Should You Test Hematocrit Levels?
Your doctor may test your hematocrit levels if you show signs of having anemia, polycythemia or erythrocytosis. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, shortness of breath and dizziness. Symptoms of polycythemia include fatigue, itching, headaches, and sweating. Symptoms of erythrocytosis includes headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, and nosebleeds.
What Is the Difference Between Hematocrit and Hemoglobin
Hematocrit and hemoglobin measurements are both blood tests but they are not testing the same thing.
When Can I Try To Donate Again
After boosting your hemoglobin and iron levels, we encourage you to return to donate. Before you donate blood or platelets, the Red Cross analyzes your hemoglobin level to make sure its healthy enough to donate.
High-iron diets and multivitamins with iron or iron supplements may take several weeks to raise your levels.
Planning Your Next Donation
Whether its your first time donating blood or youre a regular donor, take the following into consideration:
- Post-donation activities
- To prevent bruising and to promote healing at the needle site, avoid lifting or carrying heavy items for at least 12 hours.
- Refrain from doing any strenuous or athletic activities for 24 hours to enable your body to adjust to the donation.
What Foods Contain Iron
All blood donors should add foods rich in iron and high in vitamin C to their diet. Such foods include lean meat, seafood, poultry, iron-fortified cereals, beans, lentils, tofu, and fresh spinach.
Plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables and nuts contain iron and are a part of a nutritious well-balanced diet, but the iron contained in these foods is not absorbed as completely as the iron in meat, fish and poultry. Your body absorbs iron from plant sources better when you eat it with meat and foods that contain vitamin C, like orange juice, citrus fruits, and tomatoes.
View Additional information on iron in your diet.
What You Should Know
- Blood donations result in a loss of red blood cells and the iron they contain.
- A significant loss of red blood cells can lead to a decrease in the capacity of the blood to transport oxygen this is called anemia.
- Before each blood donation, we make sure that you have enough red blood cells to give blood without any risk of becoming anemic this is the hemoglobin test.
- After a blood donation, the body replaces the red blood cells lost. The bone marrow regenerates these red blood cells. It takes about one month for the red blood cells to return to the level prior to the donation.
- To manufacture new red blood cells, the bone marrow must use the iron it takes from the individuals iron reserve. The individual must then rebuild his/her iron reserve.
Obtaining A Sample Of Your Blood
Before a donor donates blood, the blood must be tested by the collecting team to see if it has enough hemoglobin to be used. When you visit a blood donation center, you will be requested to have your hemoglobin levels checked.
You can continue to donate in the future if your blood counts arent too low. You wont have your blood taken if your levels are too low. In other words, your blood donation will be turned down.
Why Do Blood Donors Need Iron After Blood Donation
Donating a unit of whole blood or double red cells removes iron from your body. Frequent apheresis donations also lose blood over time and can have low levels of iron. You need iron to make new red blood cells. Low levels of iron can cause anemia, which is a low hemoglobin value.
What is Hemoglobin?Hemoglobin is a protein in your blood that contains iron and gives blood its red color. Hemoglobin carries oxygen from your lungs to nourish all the tissues in your body. The NIH Blood Bank and Platelet Center check your hemoglobin level before every blood donation to ensure you meet the minimum requirements for blood donation. Female blood donors must have a hemoglobin level of at least 12.5 g/dL and male blood donors must have a hemoglobin level of at least 13.0 g/dL. If your hemoglobin is too low, you will be asked not to donate blood until your levels increase.
What is Iron?Iron is an essential mineral found in our diet and is part of hemoglobin. You need iron to make new red blood cells to replace the ones lost in a blood donation. The amount of iron you need depends on many factors, including age, gender, and how often you donate blood.
Study Shows Iron Supplementation After Blood Donation Shortens Hemoglobin Recovery Time
About 25-35 percent of regular blood donors develop iron deficiency.
A National Institutes of Health-funded study comparing low dose iron supplementation to no supplementation in blood donors found that supplementation significantly reduced the time to recovery of post-donation lost iron and hemoglobin an iron-rich protein that carries oxygen in red blood cells throughout the body.
The results of the Hemoglobin and Iron Recovery Study , supported by NIHs National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute , will appear Feb. 10 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Blood donors are allowed to give one pint of blood every eight weeks. A major concern is that about 25-35 percent of regular donors develop iron deficiency. Since iron is needed for red blood cell production, low iron can cause fatigue and anemia a condition in which the blood has a lower than normal number of red blood cells and can lead to temporary ineligibility for future donations. It can take months to recover the lost iron. New research indicates a possible solution.
Maintaining healthy iron levels will allow donors to safely continue donating thereby ensuring a robust blood supply for patients in need.
Simone Glynn, M.D., M.S.c, M.P.HChief of the Blood Epidemiology and Clinical Therapeutics Branch, NHLBI
The trial was supported by contracts from the NHLBI .
NIHTurning Discovery Into Health®