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Why donating blood is good for your health?
With Blood Donation Day fast approaching; it is important to raise awareness about the importance of regularly donating blood as well as the health benefits it carries. Donating blood can help save a person's life. It also promotes good health by reducing one's risk of getting cancer and hemochromatosis, reduces the risk of liver and pancreas damage, reduces obesity and improves cardiovascular health.

According to a 2012 World Health Organisation (WHO) report, only nine million units are collected annually, while the need is for 12 million units. Delhi NCR alone faces a shortage of 100,000 units per year. Statistics show that there are 234 million major operations in India, 63 million trauma-induced surgeries, 31 million cancer-related procedures and 10 million pregnancy related complications, which require blood transfusions.

Raising awareness, Dr KK ggarwal – Honorary Secretary General IMA said, "Awareness must be raised about the fact that human blood cannot be manufactured, people are the only source and that is why it is important to donate blood and help those who need it. A healthy donor is typically between the age of 18 – 65 years and must not be suffering from disease such as Hepatitis, HIV etc.

It is important that blood donation takes place in a hospital or clinic or at blood banks in presence of medical experts. A mini health exam that includes checklist for diseases related to blood pressure and infectious diseases should be conducted before initiating the collection of blood".

Those who have pre-existing medical conditions should not donate blood. People who have taken vaccinations or have undergone any surgery or have cancer, diabetes, cold and flu should consult their health experts before donating blood. Pregnant women should also seek expert advice before donating blood.

Health benefits of donating blood include:

Reduced risk of Hemochromatosis: Hemochromatosis is a health condition that arises due to excess absorption of iron by the body. This may be inherited or may be caused due to alcoholism, anemia or other disorders. Regular blood donation may help in reducing iron overload.

Anti-cancer benefits: Blood donation may also help in lowering the risk of cancer. By donating blood, storage of iron in the body is maintained at healthy levels. And the reduction in iron levels in the body is linked with low cancer risk.

Healthy heart and liver: Blood donation is beneficial in reducing risk of heart and liver ailments caused by iron overload in the body.

Weight loss: Regular blood donation reduces the weight of the donors. This is helpful to those who are obese and are at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and other health disorders. However, the blood donation should not be very frequent and you may consult your doctor before donating blood to avoid any health issues.

New blood cells: After donating blood, the body works to replenish the blood loss. This stimulates the production of new blood cells and in turn helps in maintaining good health.

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