Blood donation is a selfless way to help others and save lives. In fact, donating blood can save up to three lives all in one hour. World Donor Day, observed on June 14, encourages people to donate blood to overcome the blood deficit present worldwide. WHO data revealed that India is one of the developing nations suffering from an annual shortage of 2 million blood units. Moreover, only 1% of the Indian population actively participate in blood donation every year.
One of the main reasons for this deficit is the lack of knowledge amongst the people such as blood donation hurts, leads to weight gain. However, the most common myth is blood donation by diabetics.
Is this true? Let’s find out!
Diabetes and Blood Donation: Can you donate blood if you have diabetes?
It depends, just like most things in diabetes. There isn’t a clear answer between diabetes and blood donation since it relies on many factors. In short, it’s all about sugar levels and the type of insulins you have been using. It does not matter which type of diabetes you have as the eligibility criteria depend on your diabetes management and your medications.
Prediabetes is a condition where the sugar levels in the body are above the normal range yet not so high to be diagnosed as diabetes. A person with prediabetes can donate blood if he/she does are not prone to any heart conditions.
Type-1 diabetics are completely deferred from donating blood as they are dependant on insulin to control blood sugar levels. In a case of blood loss from the body, the patients are prone to hypoglycemia (a condition where the sugar levels dangerously go low).
If you are maintaining your sugar levels with the help of a proper diet and strenuous physical activity, then you are good to donate blood. Diabetes and blood donation can go hand in hand if you are controlling your sugar levels by lifestyle changes.
Conditions That Stop You from Donating Blood
There are a few conditions that can permanently defer a diabetic from donating blood. The following are the most common:
- Ulcers, diabetic neuropathy, or any numbness-related condition
- Hypoglycemia (when blood sugar levels are below 70 mg/dL or below)
- Diabetics who have had a pancreatic tissue transplant
- People with diabetes having kidney problems
- Diabetic retinopathy, a complication that damages the blood vessels in the tissue of the eyes
- Any heart complications
Checklist for Diabetics when Donating Blood
The following factors need to be met for a person with diabetes and blood donation:
- You are fit and healthy.
- Your sugar levels are in the normal range, especially fasting blood sugars are under 140 mg/dL.
- HbA1c levels are between 6.0% and 6.4% (42 and 47 mmol/mol)
- You are not on insulin medication
- You are not anemic (a condition where the blood is low on red blood cells)
- Blood pressure is below 180/100.
- Ideal weight must be at least 49.8 kgs.
- Your age must be between 18 years and 60 years of age.
Tips for Blood Donation
Here are a few tips for blood donation by diabetics:
- Talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about your wish to donate blood.
- Be hydrated. Drink plenty of water days before your date of donation. Build your water intake a few days before the donation and not on the same day.
- Have a hearty meal that is rich in iron or take iron supplements a week before the donation.
- Sleep for eight hours or more on the night before your donation.
- Maintain a healthy diet that helps in maintaining your blood sugar levels before and after blood donation by diabetics.
- Limit your coffee intake on the day of blood donation.
- Bring all your prescriptions relating to any health condition
- Carry your identity proof with you.
The relationship between diabetes and blood donation can be tricky. Donating blood is the most precious gift that can be given to a person in need. A condition such as diabetes should not stop you from giving this joy!