~ Weekly Health Advice from PMGH – Donate Blood, Save a life ~

Blood donations at PMGH –
Each month PMGH requires additional blood donations and struggles to maintain the quantity of blood in reserve. PMGH is always in need for blood donations and is continuing the drive for additional donors each month. PMGH Blood bank collected 2757 bags of blood from 1st Jan – 31st May. This is a very small number compared to other countries like Australia and New Zealand. The biggest issue facing blood donations at PMGH is the amount of donated blood that cannot be used due to disease or the blood not being of a high quality due to poor diets.
While giving blood should be all about helping those in need, there are a few things in it for you. Here are four health perks to becoming a blood donor:
1. Your blood may flow better –
“If blood has a high viscosity, or resistance to flow, it will flow like molasses,” says Phillip DeChristopher, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Loyola University Health System blood bank. Repeated blood donations may help the blood flow in a way that’s less damaging to the lining of the blood vessels and could result in fewer arterial blockages. That may explain why the American Journal of Epidemiology found that blood donors are 88% less likely to suffer a heart attack. It’s not clear if there are lasting health benefits associated with better blood flow. (These kinds of studies can’t prove cause and effect—for example, blood donors might lead healthier lifestyles than the general population.) “What is clear is that blood donors seem to not be hospitalized so often, and if they are, they have shorter lengths of stay,” Dr. DeChristopher says. “And they’re less likely to get heart attacks, strokes, and cancers.”
2. You’ll get a mini check-up –
Before you give blood, you’ll first have to complete a quick physical that measures your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and hemoglobin levels.
3. Your iron levels will stay balanced –
Healthy adults usually have about 5 grams of iron in their bodies, mostly in red blood cells but also in the bone marrow. When you donate a unit of blood, you lose about a quarter of a gram of iron, which gets replenished from the food you eat in the weeks after donation, Dr. DeChristopher says. This regulation of iron levels is a good thing because having too much iron could be bad news for your blood vessels. “The statistics appear to show that decreasing the amount of iron in otherwise healthy people over the long run is beneficial to their blood vessels, and diseases related to abnormalities in blood vessels, such as heart attack and stroke,” he says. Still, data from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that nearly 10% of women in the U.S. suffer from anemia, a condition where your body lacks red blood cells or hemoglobin (most commonly due to an iron deficiency). In that case, it’s best not to give blood until the anemia is resolved, he says. Women who haven’t hit menopause yet may find it hard to donate blood, too. “Pre-menopausal females can be somewhat iron depleted with blood counts just under the lower limit,” Dr. DeChristopher says. If you have low iron and you still want to be a donor, taking an oral iron supplement may help you re-qualify, he says.
4. You could live longer –
Doing good for others is one way to live a longer life. A study in Health Psychology found that people who volunteered for altruistic reasons had a significantly reduced risk of mortality four years later than those who volunteered for themselves alone. While the health benefits of donating blood are nice, don’t forget who you’re really helping: A single donation can save the lives of up to three people, according to the Red Cross. “The need for blood is always there,” Dr. DeChristopher says. “It’s important to recognize how important willing donors are.”
Why Donate?
Safe blood saves lives and improves health. Blood is vital to life and for many people blood donors are their lifeline. Currently, only 1 in 30 people give blood, but 1 in 3 people will need blood in their lifetime.  Modern processing techniques mean that a single blood donation, when separated into its components, can help at least 3 different patients and contribute to making up to 22 different products (including potentially life-saving immunizations for chicken pox, hepatitis B and tetanus).
Blood transfusion is needed for:
– Women with complications of pregnancy, such as ectopic pregnancies and haemorrhage before, during or after childbirth;
 – Children with severe anemia often resulting from malaria or malnutrition;
 – People with severe trauma following accidents; and
 – Many surgical and cancer patients.
It is also needed for regular transfusions for people with conditions such as thalassemia and sickle cell disease and is used to make products such as clotting factors for people with hemophilia.
There is a constant need for regular blood supply because blood can be stored for only a limited time before use. Regular blood donations by a sufficient number of healthy people are needed to ensure that safe blood will be available whenever and wherever it is needed.
Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person — the gift of life. A decision to donate your blood can save a life, or even several if your blood is separated into its components — red cells, platelets and plasma — which can be used individually for patients with specific conditions.
All equipment is sterile; needles are used only once and then discarded. In the great majority of donors, a donation of 470mL is less than 10% of your total body volume and may be given safely every 12 weeks.
Please head to Port Moresby General Hospital if you would like to make a generous life-saving blood donation.
Please contact info@portmoresbygeneralhospital.com if you require more information or if you would like to have your company included in this year Corporate Blood Drive.