Bengaluru: With healthcare innovations and increase in life expectancy, the requirement of blood has been going up over the years. According to the World Health Organisation, blood donation by just 1% of the population can fulfil the entire basic requirement for blood of an entire country.
City doctors said that donation reduces the risk of heart attacks as it brings down blood viscosity and helps burn calories. The theme for this year’s World Blood Donor Day, which falls on Thursday, is ‘Blood Connects Us All’.
Dr Ambanna Gowda, consultant, Internal Medicine, Fortis , said, “People who donate blood every six months, have a reduced risk of heart-related diseases and strokes as blood donation reduces blood viscosity. Donors are found to have thinner blood than that of non-donors. This is because of the iron content to blood ratio balancing when a donor donates blood.”
A research by the University of Kansas found that heart attack and stroke risks reduce by 80% if one donates blood. The country requires about five crore units of blood every year, of which only 2.5 crore are accessible.
“Our country is facing a severe shortage (70-75%) of blood reserves and this shortage can be tackled if additional 2% of the current population starts donating blood voluntarily. Though sensitisation about blood donation has increased and has outpaced replacement blood donation, there is still a long way to go,” said Dr Prathip Kumar B.R., Consultant & HoD Blood Bank, Narayana Health City.
An average Indian man can donate blood once in three months, while women can donate once in four months. Today, blood’s components, like red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma can be used to save a minimum of three lives per unit of blood, he said.
Donating blood regularly also improves fitness. Donating one pint of blood (450 ml) burns 650 calories in the donor’s body. “People with rare blood groups should all the more step forward,” said Dr Murali Chakravarthy, Director, Department of Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Pain relief, Fortis Hospitals.
Dr Jayashree D. Kulkarni, Consultant Pathologist, Columbia Asia, said, “Donating blood once in three months immensely benefits the donor’s health. It not only helps reduce the risks of heart attack and stroke, but also produces new blood cells, reduces risk of haemochromatosis, helps in weight loss, prevents premature ageing, and more.”