Why give blood?

Blood from donors is a lifeline for those in an emergency situation but it’s arguably more important to those who need long-term treatment. The main components of red cells, plasma and platelets are vital for all sorts of uses so giving blood really is important.

Red cells, plasma and platelets

Red cells are used in the treatment of blood diseases and cancer. They’re also important in the treatment of patients with anaemia, and in surgery when burns victims and transplant patients are being treated. The plasma within blood is important as it stops bleeding thanks to clotting agents. It also provides nutrients and proteins so it’s the most versatile part of blood. The other component that is vital for all sorts of patients is Platelets. These tiny cells help repair damaged body tissue so they’re important for patients with a high risk of bleeding.

Why give blood regularly

Giving blood regularly is very important because there are patients who need it regularly but that’s not the only reason you should give blood on a regular basis. Blood components have short shelf lives, and of course predicting demand is nearly impossible. Red cells last up to 35 days. Plasma last up to 1 year. Platelets only last 7 days. Giving blood regularly really does contribute to a nationwide need for the lifesaving product.

Are certain blood types in higher demand?

There are 8 different blood types. Some are rarer than others so maintaining an adequate supply of each type has been difficult job ever since the national blood service was created in 1946. The blood type that the blood service typically need more of is O Rh negative blood. This is the only blood type that can be given to anyone (all other blood types can only be given to those whose blood type matches). This type of blood is more typically found in black and south Asian minority ethnic communities. At present only 2% of the nation has this blood type.

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