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Can Diabetics Donate Blood? Everything You Need To Know

Donating blood is a selfless way to help others. Every minute, rather ever second someone needs blood and one pint (473 millilitres) of blood can save lives of up to three people [1]

However, when it comes to donating blood, there is a common misconception that diabetics can't donate blood. Although, there are a few requirements a diabetic needs to meet if he or she donates blood. There are also a few factors that may prevent a diabetic from donating, all of which we are going to discuss in this article.

Is It Safe For A Diabetic To Donate Blood?

It is generally safe for a diabetic person to donate blood. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are eligible to donate blood, as long as the diabetes is well-managed and under control. And to keep diabetes under control, you have to maintain your blood sugar levels by following a healthy diet and exercising daily [2] .

It is important to ensure that you are in good health before you donate blood. You might be on medications to help manage your diabetes, consult a doctor to understand whether these medications will hinder your ability to donate blood.

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Factors To Consider Before Blood Donation

  • Pre-diabetes - People who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes can donate blood as long as they don't have any heart problems [3] .
  • Insulin intake - People with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes who take insulin aren't allowed to donate blood. [4] .
  • Diabetes medications - People who are on diabetes medications can give blood until and unless their medications have not changed in the last four weeks. If your medications have changed it will have an effect on your blood glucose levels, which means that your health might be at a risk [5] .
  • Heart problems - In most cases, these people aren't eligible to donate blood. Diabetic people with heart problems who experienced heart failure, faintness as a result of heart problems or had surgery for blocked arteries shouldn't consider donating blood.

What To Do During Blood Donation

Blood donation centres have a screening process where they ask you about your pre-existing conditions. If you are a diabetic, you will have to share your condition and medications [6] .

In addition, a person with diabetes should be in good health and should have a healthy weight.

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What To Do After Blood Donation

After you have donated blood, monitor your blood sugar levels and eat foods rich in iron for 24 weeks [7] . In addition, you should do the following things after blood donation:

  • If your arms feel sore, take acetaminophen.
  • To avoid bruising, keep your bandage on for at least four hours.
  • Avoid any kind of strenuous activity for 24 hours after the donation.
  • Increase your fluid intake after you donate blood.

To Conclude...

If your diabetes is under control, it shouldn't stop you from donating blood and you can donate blood every 56 days or donate platelets every 7 days. Just ensure that you are on a healthy diet and you exercise daily.

View Article References
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  2. [2] Dijkstra, A., Lenters-Westra, E., de Kort, W., Bokhorst, A. G., Bilo, H. J., Slingerland, R. J., & Vos, M. J. (2017). Whole Blood Donation Affects the Interpretation of Hemoglobin A1c.PloS one,12(1), e0170802.
  3. [3] Gore, M. O., Eason, S. J., Ayers, C. R., Turer, A., Khera, A., de Lemos, J. A., ... & Sayers, M. (2014). Glycated hemoglobin in 14,850 adolescent blood donors: a pilot screening program.Diabetes care,37(1), e3.
  4. [4] Zheng, H., Patel, M., Cable, R., Young, L., & Katz, S. D. (2007). Insulin sensitivity, vascular function, and iron stores in voluntary blood donors.Diabetes Care,30(10), 2685-2689.
  5. [5] Jiang, R., Ma, J., Ascherio, A., Stampfer, M. J., Willett, W. C., & Hu, F. B. (2004). Dietary iron intake and blood donations in relation to risk of type 2 diabetes in men: a prospective cohort study.The American journal of clinical nutrition,79(1), 70-75.
  6. [6] A'zian, S. N., Wen, Y. P., & Kauthaman, M. A. H. E. N. D. R. A. N. (2015). Routine diabetes screening in blood donation campaigns.Malaysian Journal of Pathology,37(2).
  7. [7] Moghadam, A. M., Natanzi, M. M., Djalali, M., Saedisomeolia, A., Javanbakht, M. H., Saboor-Yaraghi, A. A., & Zareei, M. (2013). Relationship between blood donors' iron status and their age, body mass index and donation frequency.Sao Paulo Medical Journal,131(6), 377-383.