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World Blood Donor Day 2018: Five health benefits of donating blood

An Indian boy holds a placard during a rally to raise awareness of blood donation on the occasion of “World Blood Donor Day” in Hyderabad on June 14, 2018.<br />World Blood Donor Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on June 14 with to raise awareness of the need for safe blood. / AFP PHOTO / NOAH SEELAM

The phrase ‘every drop counts’ applies not just to water, but to another aspect of human life as well – blood donation.

World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO). It 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.

Every 14 June since 2004, countries around the world celebrate this event on the birth anniversary of Karl Landsteiner – the Austrian-American pathologist and immunologist who distinguished the main blood groups.

Here are five surprising health benefits of donating blood

Improves Heart

Health Blood donation helps maintain the iron levels and reduces the risk of various health ailments. Donating blood improves your overall cardiovascular health. Intake of iron-rich diet may increase the iron levels in the body and excess iron gets stored in heart, liver and pancreas and increases the risk of heart abnormalities like irregular heart rhythms.

Reduces 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. Consistent blood donation is associated with lowered risk of cancers, including liver, lung, colon, stomach and throat cancers.

Weight Loss

If you are trying hard to lose weight, donating blood can help you burn some calories. Donating 450 ml of blood burns 650 calories in donor’s body. This is helpful for those who are obese and are at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and other health disorders. Although, consult your doctor to avoid any health issues.

Enhances Production of New Blood Cells

Immediately after blood donation, the donor’s body begins to replace the ‘donated’ blood. New cells are produced by the bone marrow within 48 hours of donation and all the red blood cells are completely replaced within one to two months. This process of replenishment can help your body stay healthy and work more efficiently.

Prevents Hemochromatosis

Hemochromatosis is an iron disorder in which the body simply loads too much iron. This action is genetic and the excess iron, if left untreated, can damage joints, organs, and eventually be fatal. 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.

If you are in Lagos, you can join other donors to donate blood at The Elevation Church on Saturday. It is organised by Life Bank and Avon Health.

Donate blood, save a life.

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