Blood―it courses through our veins live a river providing our body with a fresh delivery of nutrients, vitamins, and oxygen needed for proper functioning. It composes approximately 7% – 10% of the normal body weight and is about 5 – 6 Liters of volume. Imagine drawing it out of your body and giving it to somebody else.
This procedure is called blood donation. Blood donation is a voluntary procedure where a person agrees to have his blood drawn to be given to someone who needs a transfusion. There are several types of blood donation. 
- Whole Blood
The most common type of blood donation, during which approximately a pint of whole blood is donated. It is approximately one pint for each blood donation of whole blood. The blood is then separated into its different components.
This type of donation uses a process called apheresis. Apheresis is a process where the donor is hooked to a machine that collects platelets and some plasma. The rest of the blood such as red blood cells and white blood cells are returned to the donor.
The plasma may be simultaneously collected along with the platelets, or it could be collected on its own using apheresis, the same method used to collect platelets separately.
- Double Red Cells
This is also done using apheresis. But in this case, only the red cells are collected.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BLOOD DONATING?
Health benefits of blood donation include reduced risk of hemochromatosis. Hemochromatosis is a health condition that arises due to excess absorption of iron by the body. This may be inherited or may be caused due to alcoholism, anemia or other disorders. Regular blood donation may help in reducing iron overload.
Keeping Heart and Liver Healthy
Blood donation is beneficial in reducing the risk of heart and liver ailments caused by iron overload in the body. Intake of iron-rich diet may increase the iron levels in the body, and since only limited proportions can be absorbed, excess iron gets stored in heart, liver, and pancreas. This, in turn, increases the risk of cirrhosis, liver failure, damage to the pancreas, and heart abnormalities like irregular heart rhythms. Blood donation helps in maintaining the iron levels and reduces the risk of various health ailments.
According to a study done by American Journal of Epidemiology, donating blood regularly reduces the risk of heart attacks by 88 percent. This study is done with 2,682 participants where 153 were regular blood donors. 152 out of 153 didn’t experience an AMI during the duration of the study. This was compared to the 316 men that had an episode of AMI out of the 2,592 non-blood donor participants.
Regular blood donation reduces the weight of the donors. This is helpful to those who are obese and are at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and other health disorders. 
New Blood Cells
After donating blood, the body works to replenish the blood loss. This stimulates the production of new blood cells and in turn, helps in maintaining good health.
Sense of Significance
As a twice blood donor, compared to all the physical benefits of donating your blood, the psychological effect of donating blood is greater. It boosts our morale. It gives us the feeling of importance, knowing that we get to save someone by sharing him or her blood.
Being a blood donor myself, I would like to encourage healthy individuals out there to donate. Not only does it benefited us blood donors, but it also gets to extend someone’s chance to live.
To know more about blood donating check out: http://www.redcrossblood.org/