What Does Frequent Blood Donation Do to the Donor?
Blood transfusions have been around for hundreds of years, and plenty of research and sacrifice went into making it safe and for the recipient. There hasn't been nearly as much research into what it does to the donor. We know the human body will replace the required amount of blood in time. The volume will stabilize in about 24 hours, but there's a lot more to blood than just water. What about iron and hemoglobin? And what happens to the generous people who donate blood on a regular basis? Donation centers do not normally check for iron levels before drawing blood. They check for anemia, which is not the same thing. Frequent donors often live just on the edge of anemia, so how does this affect their lives? An experiment identified 79 donors with low iron levels after donating blood. Half were given intravenous iron, and the other half were given saline. Four to six months later, the two groups showed no measurable difference in blood quality, cognitive function, or quality of life. However, women under 50 benefitted the most from the intravenous iron supplement. The implication of this study shows that regular blood donation does not significantly affect the donor, but does lead to some new recommendations for best practices concerning frequent donors that show signs of anemia. Read about the effects of blood donation at Stat. -via Damn Interesting(Image credit: Bisajunisa) #blood #blooddonation #iron #hemoglobin #anemia
Life in Space Can Destroy Our Blood
The human body normally destroys two million red blood cells every second in a process known as hemolysis. These cells are replaced by new red blood cells. But the process is accelerated in space, a phenomenon called "space anemia." In a microgravity environment, such as the International Space Station, the body's fluids shift and the blood loses about 10% of its water volume. To compensate, the astronaut's body will destroy 10% of its red blood cells to balance out cells and plasma. This has been known for decades, but it was assumed that with time, the rate of hemolysis would stabilize, and the blood would return to normal when the astronaut returned to earth. However, an experiment involving 14 astronauts who lived on the ISS for six months found that three million red blood cells were destroyed every second, 54% more than normal, for the entire time they were in orbit. Thirteen of the astronauts had blood drawn soon after landing, and five were diagnosed as clinically anemic. But the big news was that a year later, the astronauts rate of hemolysis was still 30% higher than normal! This finding could have huge implications for long stints in space, as in the months of travel necessary to reach Mars. Read about space anemia at Ars Technica.(Image credit: NASA) #astronaut #anemia #redbloodcell #spaceanemia
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