While blood donation is helpful for donors and recipients, people with diabetes need to take care of certain aspects when donating blood.
People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can donate blood as long as they maintain healthy blood sugar levels at the time of blood donation. However, donors with diabetes who take any kind of insulin are not eligible to donate blood.
There are some exceptions you need to know. Scroll through to find all the details to take note of before donating blood, especially when you have diabetes.
Factors Which May Prevent a Diabetic from Donating Blood
Although having diabetes does not automatically exclude you from being able to donate blood, there are some conditions you must fulfil.
General Eligibility Requirements
The requirements for eligibility to donate blood can vary from country to country. In India, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, anyone who satisfies the following conditions can donate blood:
- Aged between 18 and 65 years of age
- In normal health
- Having a body weight of 45 kg or more
- Having haemoglobin content of no less than 12.5 gms/hundred ml
Blood Sugar Levels and Other Complications
If your blood glucose levels are unstable, you shouldn’t donate blood because blood banks cannot store blood with too much insulin for long.
To keep your blood sugar levels within healthy ranges, you must monitor your blood sugar levels daily, consume nutritious food, and exercise enough.
Additionally, some medical professionals think it might not be advisable to give blood for your safety if you have experienced diabetes-related issues affecting your eyes, blood vessels, heart, or kidneys.
Source of Insulin
Mad Cow Disease is a concern for those who have previously taken insulin made from cows. Some studies suspect there may be a slight chance that mad cow disease could spread through blood donations.
Even if it has been years or decades, taking bovine insulin will not make someone eligible to donate blood. However, other diabetic medications will not stop someone from giving blood.
The HealthifyMe Note
People with diabetes are eligible to donate blood as long as they have normal blood sugar levels at the time of donation and have no issues affecting their eyes, blood vessels, or kidneys due to diabetes. Moreover, due to the possibility of mad cow disease, those who have previously used bovine (produced from cattle/cows) insulin are prohibited from donating blood.
Safety Tips: How to Prepare for Donating Blood?
Before Blood Donation
To ensure a successful blood donation, follow these steps:
- Try to maintain a blood glucose level within your doctor’s recommended range in the days leading up to your donation.
- Always consult with your doctor before deciding to donate blood.
- Drink enough water in the days leading up to and following your donation, just like every other blood donor.
- Get plenty of rest the night before.
- Eat iron-rich foods a week or two before the donation day to be well-prepared.
- Do not fast before donation. Instead, eat a healthy meal to not feel weak or dizzy after donating blood.
During the Donation Process
Make sure to tell the person assisting you with your donation about your condition and that your doctor has given you the okay. Also, bring a list of the medications you are taking to be on the safe side.
After Blood Donation
After giving blood, drinking fluids and taking iron to rehydrate your body is crucial. People with diabetes should also pay close attention to their blood sugar levels throughout recovery, as they might need to adjust their insulin dosage. If you feel ill after giving blood, call your doctor immediately.
Precautions and Tips to Keep in Mind
A study found that blood donors with type 2 diabetes may have their HbA1c levels, which represent their average blood glucose levels over the previous two to three months, falsely lowered. It could cause a general practitioner or doctor to misinterpret your glycemic control.
3-5 days after donating, some people with type 1 diabetes report having a slight rise in blood glucose levels. While giving blood won’t make your glucose levels spike or plummet, it’s possible to notice some wrong readings. Blood loss and an increased red blood cell turnover might be the causes.
You should always inform your doctor before donating blood, so they can assess whether it is safe for you to do so and if any of your medications could cause any health problems.
You may be able to donate blood if you have diabetes, but it is essential to check the eligibility requirements carefully. Some factors can make it unsafe for people with diabetes to donate blood. However, you can prepare for the donation by taking care of yourself and monitoring your blood sugar levels.
Blood banks and donation centres take safety precautions for the person receiving the blood and the person donating it, so people with diabetes should not hesitate to donate blood.
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