While blood donation is beneficial for both donors and recipients, diabetics need to pay attention to some aspects when donating blood. People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can donate blood as long as they maintain their blood sugar levels at the time of donating blood. However, donors with diabetes who take any type of insulin are not eligible to donate blood. There are some exceptions you need to know about.
Scroll to find all the details to write down before donating blood, especially when you have diabetes.
Factors that may prevent diabetics from donating blood
Although having diabetes does not automatically prevent you from donating blood, there are some conditions that you must fulfill.
General eligibility requirements
Eligibility requirements for donating blood can vary from country to country. In India, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, anyone who fulfills the following conditions can donate blood:
- They are between 18 and 65 years old
- in normal health
- Must have a body weight of 45 kg or more
- Hemoglobin should not be less than 12.5 g/100 ml
Blood sugar levels and other complications
If your blood glucose levels are unstable, you should not donate blood because blood banks cannot store blood with a large amount of insulin for a long time. To keep your blood sugar levels within healthy ranges, you should monitor your blood sugar levels daily, eat nutritious foods, and exercise adequately. Additionally, some medical professionals believe that it may not be a good idea to donate blood for your safety if you have had diabetes-related problems affecting your eyes, blood vessels, heart, or kidneys.
source of insulin
BSE is a concern for those who have previously taken insulin made from cows. Some studies suspect that BSE may be spread through blood donation. Even if years or decades pass, taking bovine insulin will not make a person eligible to donate blood. However, other diabetes medications will not prevent a person from donating blood.
People with diabetes are eligible to donate blood as long as their blood sugar levels are normal at the time of donation and they do not have problems with their eyes, blood vessels, or kidneys due to diabetes. Furthermore, due to the possibility of BSE, those who have previously used bovine insulin (produced from cattle/cows) are prohibited from donating blood.
Safety Tips: How do you prepare to donate blood?
Before donating blood
To ensure the success of the blood donation process, follow these steps:
- Try to keep your blood glucose level within the range recommended by your doctor in the days before your donation.
- Always consult your doctor before deciding to donate blood.
- Drink enough water in the days before and after your donation, just like any other blood donor.
- Get plenty of rest the night before.
- Eat iron-rich foods a week or two before the day of donation so that you are well prepared.
- Do not fast before donating. Instead, eat a healthy meal so you don’t feel weak or dizzy after donating blood.
During the donation process
Be sure to tell the person helping with your donation about your condition and that your doctor has given you consent. Also, bring a list of the medications you take to be on the safe side.
After donating blood
After donating blood, drinking fluids and taking iron to hydrate the body is critical. People with diabetes should also pay close attention to their blood sugar levels throughout recovery, as they may need to adjust their insulin dose. If you feel sick after donating blood, contact 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 is the average blood sugar levels over the previous two to three months, have falsely decreased. This may cause a GP or doctor to misinterpret your blood sugar control.
3-5 days after donation, some people with type 1 diabetes have reported slightly higher blood glucose levels. While donating blood will not cause your glucose levels to rise or fall, it is possible to notice some false readings. Blood loss and increased red blood cell turnover may be the causes.
You should always inform your doctor before donating blood, so that he or she 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 eligibility requirements carefully. Certain factors can make donating blood unsafe for people with diabetes. However, you can prepare for donation by taking care of yourself and monitoring your blood sugar levels. Blood banks and blood donation centers take safety precautions for blood recipients and donors, diabetics do not hesitate to donate blood.
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