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The Health Benefits Of Donating Blood

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June is National Blood Donor month. Every 3s, someone needs a blood transfusion! 20% of recipients are children – many are cancer patients, accident victims or patients undergoing surgery. A small needle prick and a little of your time could transform you into a superhero. Yes, by donating blood you’ll be saving up to three human lives each time you donate! Isn’t it shocking that about 60% of the population are eligible to donate blood, yet less than 4% do! So, if you’re still in two minds about whether or not to donate blood, consider the unexpected health benefits as a donor. It’s time to roll up your sleeve and save a life – including yours. Here’s why:

Feeling the joy of saving a human life

Every time you donate blood, you can help up to three or four recipients. According to, a study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who volunteered unselfishly had a significantly reduced risk of mortality than those who never volunteer. What a wonderful, unselfish gift to give!

Donating blood burns calories

A one-time blood donation can burn up to 650 calories, as the body has to work hard to replenish itself. Although there are many benefits to donating blood just one time, the people who benefit from blood donations are regular donors. A donor can only give blood every 56 days.

You will get a mini-medical

You can donate blood only if you are fit enough to do so. Before every blood donation, you will get your iron (haemoglobin) level checked, and your blood pressure and pulse rate taken. This will be of great benefit to you. Any potential “red flags” will be discovered. You Score!

Donating blood reduces your risk of heart disease and cholesterol

According to studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, blood donors are 33% less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease and 88% less likely to suffer a heart attack. The lowered health risks have to do with iron depletion. Iron has a significant impact on the body. High blood iron can cause a variety of symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, hardening of arteries, accelerated cholesterol oxidation, decreased libido and enlarged liver, to name a few. High levels of iron leads to free-radical damage in the body and has been linked to an increased risk of cancer as well.

iron image

When donating blood, you are removing 225 – 250mg of iron from your body, reducing your risk of health complications.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that those between the ages of 43 and 61 had fewer heart attacks and strokes when they had donated blood every six months.If you choose to give blood, you should not abandon other methods recommended for improving heart health. Changes in your diet and lifestyle prove to be the most effective way to stay healthy.

Most people donate whole blood.

After donation, your blood is separated into its components (red blood cells, platelets and plasma) for distribution to local hospitals – ready to save lives!

Donate Your Blood Today at SANBS

Less than 1% of South Africans are active blood donors. A unit of blood only lasts 42 days after donation and, for this reason, it is important for blood donors to donate regularly. Donors can give blood as often as every eight weeks. Every unit of blood can save a minimum of three lives as blood is separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets.

SANBS aims to collect 3000 units of blood per day to ensure a safe and sufficient blood supply in the health care system. This is the journey of 1 unit of donated blood.

There are many SANBS blood donation centres open to the public. To find the location nearest to you, click on our map. Or you may consider motivating your employer to host a blood drive at your offices for the convenience of all staff members.

Current Blood Stock Levels




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