The Facts About Blood Donation

The Facts About Blood Donation
On Dec. 31, 1969, President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation that declared January National Blood Donor Month. For 50 years, the American Red Cross and other organizations have praised blood donors and highlighted the importance of blood donation. I’ve required quite a few blood transfusions over the years. When I was hospitalized in 2006 and diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, I was so severely anemic that I required multiple transfusions to increase my red blood cell count to a suboptimal level. A decade later, I received several transfusions after my liver transplant to stabilize my platelet count. For IBD patients, the likelihood of needing a blood transfusion is high. Crohn's and ulcerative colitis symptoms can cause blood loss, as can surgeries to treat both diseases. As National Blood Donor Month comes to a close, here are some points to ponder about blood donation. The need for blood donation According to the American Red Cross, every 2 seconds someone in the United States requires a blood transfusion. An estimated 6.8 million people donate blood each year in the U.S. Less than 38 percent of the population who are eligible register to give blood. A few years ago, the National Blood Collection and Utilization Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported a steady decline in blood donations across the nation. Although the survey also found a similar decline in transfusion needs, that doesn’t lessen the need for donations. Because of blood’s short shelf life, a steady supply is needed. Red blood cells can be refrigerated and stored for up to 42 days. Platelets, on the other hand, must be transfused within five days. Fortunately, most people can donate blood every 56 days if eligible. The role of blood type in bl
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