World Blood Donor Day

Happy World Blood Donor Day!
June 14, 2019

Michelle from Denver, North Carolina, had witnessed many transfusions for her late son BJ, who passed away from leukemia at 15 years old. She would tell those who would want to help, “… go give blood, because it not only helps BJ, but it also helps other kids, other people in our community. I’m thankful those donors gave me more time with my son…”

Did you know that every 2 seconds someone in the US needs blood? Or that one pint of blood could help save up to 3 lives? Therefore, if you’re looking for an easy and effective way to help your community, then go donate blood at your local blood bank. Why not donate today? Afterall, it is World Blood Donor Day today!

Don’t just stop there! You can donate blood as often as every 56 days. This translates to over 5 donations a year, which means you can potentially help up to 15 people with just one year’s supply of blood. Now do the math, and imagine if you were to carry on this good deed over your lifetime…. that’s a lot of blood–and a lot of people you might help!

All kinds of people, of all ages can benefit from your blood donation. For instance, if you are an O- blood type, then your blood is in the highest demand when it comes to emergency situations. That’s because carriers of O- are universal blood donors, matching across all blood types. Hospitals also prefer the O- blood type for those with underdeveloped immune systems, such as premature babies in need. The O- blood type is only common among 7% of the population. Check out this link to RedCrossBlood to see which blood types are the rarest.

Blood in three parts

Blood can be divided into three parts: red blood cells, plasma and platelets. Red blood cells are important for boosting iron and hemoglobin. They are needed for people in accidents or undertaking surgery, for those with blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia, or for those needing transplants or undergoing cancer treatment. Blood transfusions are also common among pregnant women, not only during childbirth, but also in non-emergency situations such as having low iron levels. During delivery, even being slightly anemic or iron deficient can potentially lead to complications.

Red blood cells are found in plasma, a yellowish liquid made up of mostly water, proteins, and enzymes. Plasma is crucial for the transfer of important nutrients and further contains clotting factors that help prevent an injured person from bleeding out. Plasma transfusions are given to patients suffering liver failure, severe infections, and burns. Interestingly, O- blood types are not universal donors for plasma. Instead, both the positive and negative AB blood type are universal donors for plasma, making up only 4% of the US population.

Lastly, blood can be separated into platelets. You might be wondering, what the heck are those? Well, your bone marrow produces about a million of these tiny cells daily. They are extremely useful as they are especially designed to clot blood and stop bleeding. When you get a cut or scrape, the scab that forms over it is formed by platelets. Without platelets, that little cut would never stop bleeding and could easily become infected. Therefore, nearly 38% of all platelet transfusions are given to people fighting cancer because most treatments, such as chemotherapy and surgical procedures, can easily lead to internal bleeding.

Requirements for donating blood

Okay, okay. Now that we’ve covered a few facts about donating blood, it’s also important to address some key requirements before donating blood. Well the obvious requirement is…

  • You must be in good health. Don’t even think about donating blood if you’re fighting off a cold or infection!
  • You need to be at least 16 years old
  • Weigh at least 110 lbs
  • You cannot be iron deficient
  • Certain restrictions do apply for people who have lived in or traveled to certain regions or countries
  • If you have a tattoo, no problem! In the state of Florida, as long as you have received your recent tattoo(s) from a licensed tattoo parlor or professional, you’re in the clear. Otherwise there’s a 12-month wait time that applies. If you’re not in Florida, check out this link for more on eligibility requirements.

So get your blood drawn today, enjoy a free health screening that includes your pulse, blood pressure, hematocrit (red blood cell count) and temperature, and ask about your blood type if you don’t already know it. So with that, in the words of Louis from Apopka, Florida, “Just go out there and do it, you never know who you could help.”

Happy World Blood Donor Day, ya’ll!

To find a healthcare professional, use HealthLynked. It is a first of its kind medical network built as a social ecosystem with a higher purpose – improving healthcare.  Go to HealthLynked.com to learn more, sign up for free, connect with your doctor, find a new doctor, and securely store and share your health information. Download our HealthLynked app available on Apple and Android devices.

References:
www.redcrossblood.org
www.oneblood.org

Contributing Blog Writer Marpessa Rietbergen is a HealthLynked provider administrator.

The Basics: Blood Donation

Want to give blood? Find out what your need to do before, during, and after donating.

Source

To find a healthcare professional, use HealthLynked. It is a first of its kind medical network built as a social ecosystem with a higher purpose – improving healthcare.  Go to HealthLynked.com to learn more, sign up for free, connect with your doctor, find a new doctor, and securely store and share your health information. Download our HealthLynked app available on Apple and Android devices.

New Blood Pressure Guidelines: What you Need to Know

Understanding your blood pressure reading

Making sense of your blood pressure reading can be tricky, but we’ve broken it down to help you better understand what the numbers mean.

A blood pressure reading involves two numbers, one over the other. For example, a reading might be presented as 120/80.

Systolic pressure, the top number, is the pressure on the arteries when the heart beats and pumps blood.

Diastolic pressure, the bottom number, is the pressure on the arteries in between heartbeats.

Although both systolic and diastolic measures are important, research has found that systolic pressure is a strong predictor of heart problems caused by high blood pressure, especially among older adults. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80.

New blood pressure guidelines

In late 2017, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology announced updated high blood pressure guidelines. The new guidelines are based, in part, on research carried out and funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at NIH.

Under the updated AHA/ACC guidelines, if you have systolic blood pressure rates of 130 and higher you are considered to have high blood pressure. The old guidelines set high blood pressure rates at 140 or higher.

These new guidelines were informed by a number of clinical studies that showed that lifestyle changes can help high-risk individuals reduce their blood pressure—and may ultimately save lives.

Those changes include heart-healthy diets, weight loss, and exercise as key first steps in reaching a lower blood pressure target.

One study that helped inform the guidelines was the SPRINT (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention) trial, which was supported by NHLBI.

SPRINT studied 9,300 adults, aged 50 and older, at risk for heart disease from around the U.S. It showed that achieving a lower blood pressure goal of 120 mm Hg (instead of 140) reduced the rate of heart events by about 25 percent and the overall risk of death by 27 percent.

Talk to your health care provider

You can measure your blood pressure at home with a monitor and in your health care provider’s office. Some people have higher blood pressure readings at the doctor’s office due to the stress that appointments can create. It’s known as “white coat hypertension.”

Be sure to talk to your health care provider about your blood pressure reading and any follow-up steps you need to take.

Source

To find a healthcare professional, use HealthLynked. It is a first of its kind medical network built as a social ecosystem with a higher purpose – improving healthcare.  Go to HealthLynked.com to learn more, sign up for free, connect with your doctor, find a new doctor, and securely store and share your health information. Download our HealthLynked app available on Apple and Android devices.