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Blood and Community Health
The use of the Blood of one human being to save the life of another is one of the world’s greatest medical achievements. Thousands of people are alive today – happy children, young mothers, accident victims, the elderly who have survived major operations because blood and blood components were available to combat many types of diseases and other medical problems.
When is Blood Needed?
Blood donations are needed daily in every community throughout the country. Every minute, more than 25 units of blood or specialized blood components are transfused. That’s nearly 37,000 units each and every day.
Over 95% of all Americans reaching age 72 will need blood, or one of the products that can be derived from blood,in their lifetimes. About 75% of all people over 30 years of age know someone who has had a blood transfusion.
A fragile product blood is a liquid living tissue that must be used within 21 – 41 days (5 days for blood platelets) of the time it is donated. While people often “tune in” and respond to emergency appeals, daily needs can only be met by volunteer donors on an ongoing basis throughout the year.
Facts About the Patients Needing Blood
- Patients diagnosed with cancer use the highest percentage of blood transfused.
- About 5% of all hospitalized patients receive a transfusion of blood or blood components.
- More women receive blood than men.
- Both newborns and children frequently need transfusions of blood and blood components.
- Most blood is transfused to patients over 65 years of age.
- Patients with the following diseases are the leading users of blood and blood components: Cancer; Heart disease; Gastrointestinal disease; Fractures and trauma; Anemia; Hemophilia; Bone and joint abnormalities requiring surgery; Lung, liver and kidney disease; Bleeding disorders associated with chemotherapy.
- Transplantation of organs frequently requires massive transfusions of blood and blood components.
Who Can Donate Blood?
The donor must be at least 17 years old. There is no upper age limit.
Temporary deferrals may be made for the donor’s safety or to protect the patients who would receive the donated blood. There are several reasons why a willing donor may be temporarily turned away. These include underweight, pregnancy, recent immunization, cold or flu, recent major surgery and recent travel in a tropical country.
Some conditions such as high blood pressure or kidney disease might result in ineligibility to donate blood.
A normal donation of one unit equals about a pint of blood. The donor’s blood volume begins to be restored immediately. Complete restoration of body fluid comes within 24 hours. full replacement of red blood cells takes place in a couple of weeks.
Facts About the Volunteer Blood Donor
- Healthy volunteer donors contribute 98% of the blood and blood products transfused in the United States.
- Donors con not contract AIDS by donating blood.
- Each day, 15,000 donors are needed to meet the ongoing need for blood and components.
- Many lives have been saved by blood voluntarily donated by caring individuals.
- Approximately 40% of the population are medially eligible to be donors, however, less than 10% are the “quiet heroes and heroines” that provide the blood needed for the entire population.
- Blood donors come from all walks of life. they are people just like you.
- Thousands of blood donors discuss with their families their desire to be an organ and tissue donor.