Donating blood prevents major heart diseases, say doctors

City Health

Expert says incidence of heart attack reduce by almost 80 percent by donating blood.

Donating blood can help in preventing major heart diseases in the donor. Dr. R. Shreelatha, Professor and Head of Department (HOD) of Immunohematology and Blood Bank Transfusion at Victoria Hospital said, “People are unaware about the fact that donating blood can help them prevent various heart diseases. The main cause of increasing heart diseases is excess of cholesterol in the body. Donating blood can lower the cholesterol level in the body, hence, preventing heart diseases.”

She further said, “ Iron content in the body should be appropriate. Iron helps in making new blood cells and it can be done by donating blood. Moreover, if the haemoglobin is high in the body, the viscosity of the blood increases, leading to blood clots and heart attacks as the heart will not be able to pump properly and the blood circulation will not be fast enough for the body.”

The Annual Report (2021-2022) by Department of Health and Family Welfare states the number of people diagnosed with Coronary Heart Diseases (CHD) has increased from 61,302 during 2014-15 to 1,48,873 during 2020-21 in India.

A study published in the Indian Journal of Community Medicine shows over the last 30 years, the rate of CHD-related incidence has increased from two percent to six percent in the rural population and from four percent to 12 percent in the urban population in Karnataka.

 Data showing the number of heart surgeries done in Sri Jayadeva Institute of  Cardiovascular Sciences and Research.

A report by Columbia University Irving Medical Centre published in 2022 says, “Regular blood donation is linked to lower blood pressure and a lower risk for heart attacks. It definitely helps to reduce cardiovascular risk factors. Also, these benefits are more significant in men compared to women. Maybe it’s because women have menstrual cycles, so they do it naturally without donating blood.”

Dr. N Swamy, Medical Officer at  Bangalore Medical Service Trust said, “All males should donate blood in an interval of three months which is four times in a year and females should donate it in the interval of four months, i.e., three times in a year. Incidence of heart attack will reduce by almost 80 percent by donating blood. Also, the chance of hypercholesterolemia  and hyperlipidemia will also be reduced.”

He added, “During  Covid-19, there was a significant dip in blood donations, but now they are picking up like in the pre-pandemic era.”

Pradeep who donates blood twice a year said, “I got to know about four to five years back, that haemoglobin level in my body is high and doctors told me that it is important for me to donate blood four times a year. So, I make sure that I donate blood.”