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The health benefits of giving blood

This week saw my 17th blood donation. I have always known that every time you donate you’re doing something amazing for someone in need, but recent studies show that donating blood is also good for your own health.

It takes just 48 hours to replenish the full pint donated and in that time it has been found that your body actually burns up to 650 calories doing so. Another benefit to the donor is that it can also reduce the risk of heart attacks and even cancer. According to a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that those aged 43 to 61 had fewer heart attacks and strokes when they donated blood every six months.

There’s currently 1.4 million active donors in England and North Wales, but last year NHS Blood and Transplant saw a 6% drop. New donors are constantly needed to replace those who can’t donate due to health issues, pregnancy and foreign travel.

Most people can donate; as long as you are generally in good health, age 17 to 65 (if it's your first time) and weigh at least 50kg (7st 12Ib). So if you fall within these categories, go on, book yourself an appointment to save a life. However, please be aware that if you are female, aged under 20 years old and weigh under 65kg (10st 3lb) and are under 168cm (5' 6") in height, you need to have your blood volume estimated beforehand.

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