Better Than I Deserve
1/30/13 at 08:35 PM 11 Comments

There's Power in the Blood

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Jack Wellman, 2013

Why would anyone want to donate blood? There are several important benefits to those who donate blood, especially on a regular basis. The first and most basic reason is that it helps those who are cancer patients and those who are in accidents and need blood. So the recipient’s benefits are obvious…transfusions, emergency blood supplies and saving lives. The last time I gave blood a nurse told me about a young man who had to go into the hospital every few months for a blood transfusion. These transfusions make extending his life possible. A great number of these patients that need blood transfusions are children undergoing treatment for cancer. If they run out of blood for this, it is quite simple - they die. But blood donors are also the winners. Here’s why I say that. For those who donate blood, they lower their blood pressure, raise their good cholesterol levels (HDL) while lowering the bad (LDL). Donating also reduces dangerous platelets or clots, purifies the blood, stimulates the production of red (iron rich) blood cells, and lowers the risk for heart attacks, heart disease and strokes. There is also statistical evidence that it may reduce the occurrence of Dementia and Alzheimer’s. For men it helps them reduce the risk of elevated iron levels in their bloodstream which can build up to dangerous levels.

When you donate blood, its almost like getting a blood works test. All blood is tested for diseases, including STDs. If the test is positive, the donor will be notified and their blood discarded. The tests used are high-sensitivity screening tests and no actual diagnosis is made but they can alert the donor to some life-threatening conditions. Individuals are discouraged from using blood donation for the purpose of anonymous STD screening because a false negative could mean the disease would be passed to someone else. Blood may also be tested for additional infectious diseases such as West Nile Virus, when and where these diseases are prevalent. Donated blood is tested by many methods, and a typical screening panel includes most of the tests below:

Antibody to Hepatitis B core "anti-HBC" , Hepatitis B Surface Antigen "HBSAg" , Nucleic acid testing by Transcription Mediated Amplification (TMA) or Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for Hepatitis B "HBV-NAT" , Antibody to Hepatitis C "anti-HCV" , Nucleic acid testing for HCV "HCV-NAT" , Alanine Transaminase "ALT" (this test is used to check for liver problems which may be a sign of hepatitis and has been phased out as tests for hepatitis have improved) , Antibody to HIV types 1 and 2 "Anti-HIV1/2" , Nucleic acid for HIV "HIV-NAT" , Antibody to HIV p24 antigen (this test has been mostly replaced by HIV NAT) , Antibody to Human T-Lymphotrophic Virus I/II "anti-HTLV" , Nucleic acid testing for West Nile Virus "WNV-NAT" , Antibody to Chagas Disease ,Serologic test for syphilis "RPR" or "STS" , Antibody to Cytomegalovirus "anti-CMV", Atypical red cell antigen screening ,and blood typing.

Most cities have a local blood bank. Sometimes a bloodmobile is used to run a blood drive utilizing a modified bus or recreational vehicle. It is best to donate after work since you will be fatigued for a short time afterward. It is surprising to know that most areas have blood supplies for about one day. In other words, we are one local disaster away from being out. Please give life…you could save a life and it’s for your own good.

Jack Wellman is Senior Writer at What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believers daily walk with God and the Bible.

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