World Blood Donor Day, observed globally on June 14, highlights the vital role blood donation plays in saving lives.

While the day's primary objective is to celebrate the noble act of donating blood, it also raises awareness of the benefits blood donors can have.

Blood donation is a life-saving activity through which an individual can help someone in a dire medical condition and provide critical support during a public health crisis.

Brief History Behind World Blood Donor Day

The day was first proclaimed by World Health Organization (WHO) in 2004. At the 58th World Health Assembly the following year, its status was solidified as a day of international importance.

According to the WHO, June 14 is the birthday of Austrian biologist and physician Karl Landsteiner, who is known as the "founder" of modern blood transfusion. In 1901, he discovered the ABO blood groups. He also came up with a modern means of classifying blood groups.

In 1937, he and Alexander S. Wiener identified the Rhesus factor, which tells whether the blood of two different people is "compatible" when combined, as per the National Library of Medicine.

Benefits of Donating Blood

The slogan for the 2023 World Blood Donor Day campaign is "Give blood, give plasma, share life, share often," which highlights the selflessness of those who donate their blood.

But did you know that apart from helping those in need, donating blood can also be good for the health of the donors themselves?

The following are some of these health benefits:

It Can Improve the Donor's Heart Health

Regular blood donation can improve heart health by reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels, depleting iron stores and promoting better blood flow. These benefits contribute to a reduced risk of heart disease and promote overall cardiovascular well-being.

It Can Increase Their Body's Detoxing Potential

The human body possesses its natural detoxifying mechanisms, but donating blood can enhance its capabilities. Research suggests that blood and plasma donations can influence the levels of perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which indicate their potential role in aiding the body's detoxification process.

It Helps Maintain Good Iron Levels

Blood donation improves iron levels by depleting iron stores in the body and stimulating the production of new red blood cells. This promotes effective iron utilization and absorption, ensuring a healthy iron balance in the body.

A Blood Donor Gets a Mini Health Screening

Before blood donation, the individual undergoes a physical examination and their blood is tested for infectious diseases such as West Nile virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The donor also has a quick physical checkup including quick pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin level tests.

blood donation
The American Red Cross collects about 40 percent of the country's blood supply. Photo courtesy of Pixabay