You already know donating blood saves lives. That fact alone is reason enough to attend your next local blood drive. However, what you might not realize is that it also offers benefits for the person giving blood.
Here are 5 ways giving blood one day save the donor's life.
1) Heart health: Researches from the American Journal of Epidemiology learned donors who gave blood just once a year lowered their heart attack risk by 88-percent when compared to those who didn't give blood. While researches are still investigating these benefits, one theory credits the iron reduction caused by blood donation. While iron is a vital part of our body, too much can cause blood to stick to arteries and become difficult for the heart to pump.
2) Cancer prevention: The dip in iron caused by blood donation is also thought to help lower cancer risk. Free radicals cause the iron in our blood to oxidize and damage cells, which can lead to cancer. However, blood donation lowers iron levels and may ultimately lower the giver's cancer risk. In fact, one study following 1,200 people for more than four years discovered the group who gave blood twice annually had significantly lower cancer and mortality risk than the group that didn't give blood.
3) Free health screening: Each blood donation comes with blood, blood pressure, pulse, temperature and iron level screenings. While these screenings don't replace a exam by your provider, they can help increase the donor's awareness of their current health status.
4) A sitting workout: Your body has to replace the blood you donate, burning a minimum of 650 calories in the process. While blood donation certainly isn't an exercise or diet tool, it's interesting to know that your body is working hard internally even when you are sitting still.
5) Happiness: Doing good deeds boosts the mind, body and spirit. Studies show acts of giving and compassion combat stress and contribute to longer, healthier, happier lives .
"Each unit of blood you donate can potentially save three lives. Every day we are learning about new ways giving blood benefits to both donors, but the bottom line is that anyone one of us or our loved ones could be on the receiving end someday," said Jonathan Swindle, orthopaedic trauma surgeon. "A healthy blood supply is essential to a healthy community, and I can't think of many gifts that are more meaningful."
You can learn when and where the next blood drive is scheduled in your community by visiting redcross.org.