Blood donation helps ensure regular health checks, says scientist

Amarachi Okeh

Principal medical laboratory scientist, Chinedu Eze, says donating blood provides a lot of benefits, noting that it helps donors know their health status because their blood gets screened.

According to Eze, regular blood donors get screened by physicians and can know their basic health information, like their blood type and level.

“They are also able to know the status of their health because the blood they donate is screened for HIV, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis,” he said.

Eze, who is in charge of the blood bank at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital also noted that aside from the psychological benefit of feeling fulfilled after donating blood, knowing that it could help save someone’s life, donating blood also help donors avoid the risk of some heart diseases.

“The red blood cells have a life span of 120 days after which they are depleted and excreted through urine and some of the iron goes back into the system.

“If someone has a large overload of iron in the system, it is a predisposing factor to some cardiovascular diseases like heart attack and all that but if you donate blood within the stipulated period, then you are not at risk of those cardiovascular diseases

“It has also been proven that blood donation is also a very good method of weight watching. 

“There’s a study that suggested that for a pint of blood that you donate, you are riding your system of about 650 calories of fat in the system,” Eze said.

The scientist, however, advised that there should be limits to the frequency of blood donation.

For men, once in three months while for women, once in four months.

He also noted that commercial donors who make money via blood donations by cheating the system are at risk of different health complications that follow excessive and unregulated donation of blood.

“Avoid regular or excessive blood donation. There’s a limit to the number of times one can donate blood.

“For males, it is every three months while for women it is every four months but because of poverty, commercial blood donors will come and lie to you that they donated blood like a year ago meanwhile this person just donated blood two days ago and there’s a way to make their packed cell volume (PCV) high.

“Some can use cigarette smoking, some can do a whole lot to cheat the system and make money from it so when you continue to do like that because of the money, it becomes harmful to the donor.

“Then, there are also some physical disadvantages like people that have no visible veins. It can be difficult to find, that one is just a temporary setback.

“But the major thing is multiple blood donation is risky. And the risks are you are taxing your long bones, your bone marrows.

“The system has a way of compensating itself. So, if you stress your bone marrows too much you can end up getting cancer,” he warned.

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