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American Red Cross In Dire Need Of Blood Donations: Why Donating Is Good For Your Health

Update Date: Jan 06, 2017 11:28 AM EST
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The American Red Cross urges people to donate blood amid its blood and platelet shortage this season. It issued an emergency call for donations in response to a severe winter blood shortage.

The organization says it had about 37,000 fewer donations in November and December that was badly needed. This was due to snowstorms and severe weather situations that forced nearly about 100 blood drives to cancer. That's more than 3,100 blood donations going uncollected.

About 40 percent of the country's blood supply comes from Red Cross. However, at present, blood products are being used faster in various hospitals than donations are coming in.

Last year, the organization experienced the same shortage. 

"Hospital patients need lifesaving blood this winter, and they're relying on the generosity of volunteer donors to provide hope in the days and weeks ahead," Chris Hrouda, executive vice president, Red Cross Blood Services, said in a press release.

"The Red Cross is doing everything it can to ensure blood products are available on the shelves when patients need it, but we can't do it alone. We need eligible individuals to give blood and platelets as soon as possible," he added.

Donate Now

Eligible blood donors are advised to schedule a donation by using the Red Cross Blood Donor app or by visiting its website. For those who wants to schedule their appointment and donation through a phone call, they can contact 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) for more details.

Health Benefits Of Donating Blood

Aside from helping family, relatives, friends and other people whenever they need blood donation, there are many other benefits of this noble action, according to Medical Daily.

First off, blood donation preserves cardiovascular health. One of the underlying factors of cardiovascular disease is blood viscosity. This could be reduced by donating blood on a regular basis since it eradicates the iron that may potentially oxidize in the blood. Oxidative stress has been linked to various health risks such as stroke and heart attack.

Blood donation may also decrease the risk of cancer. This can also be rooted to the removal of iron in the body. Iron has been linked to the increase of free radical damage in the body. When there is increased free radicals, these may boost the risk of cancer and premature aging.

Blood donation can even help burn calories. In fact, a person can burn about 650 calories per donation of one pint of blood. For those who regularly donate blood, they can lose a significant amount of weight. However, it's just a benefit attributed to blood donation and it should not be used as a weight loss plan.

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