January – National Volunteer Blood Donor Month Week ThreeBy Karen Rhodenizer • Published: January 17th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
Ever stop to think about your community blood supply? Maybe you should, because your community blood supply is pulsing all around you. In local hospitals, on blood bank shelves, in delivery vehicles on the road next to you.
January is National Blood Donor Month for our nation’s blood centers, so this is a good time for you to stop and think about giving, especially since giving blood may be good for you too.
Some research suggests that high iron levels in your blood can increase the risk of heart disease, which could be why men traditionally have an earlier risk of heart disease than women do. Women lose blood each time they menstruate, which lowers their iron levels. Men store iron in their body tissues beginning in their early twenties, which is when their risk of heart disease begins to increase.
When women stop menstruating, their risk of heart disease begins to climb… along with their iron levels.
One way to reduce your iron level is to give blood regularly. A study in Finland of more than two thousand men found that those who donated at least once a year had an eighty-eight percent lower risk of heart attacks than non-donors. Critics point out that blood donors may be healthier to start with, which is probably true. After all, blood donors have their blood pressure, pulse, temperature and iron levels checked before donating, and they have to be in a healthy range to do so.
But since there’s no health risk associated with giving blood, and it could even promote a healthier heart for you, why not give and give often? Your community blood supply will be healthier too.
To find out where to donate in your area, or for more information about giving blood, visit the AABB’s web site at www.aabb.org.