Abuja- Periodic blood donation can slow down the process of aging and stave off unwanted health conditions like cancer and high blood pressure, a microbiologist has said.
Mr. Chukwudi Ubarieke, a microbiologist at the National Blood Transfusion Service, made the declaration on Sunday in Abuja at a forum.
“There are psychological and health benefits of donating blood; some people have not known that when you donate blood, you are creating the opportunity for yourself, to live longer.
“How many of us know that blood donation can reduce their chances of developing cancer or heart attack? Blood donation can make you reduce the risk of fast aging.
“In our blood there is what we call hemoglobin, the hemoglobin is made of iron; iron you know we get from meat; red meat contains iron and other food we eat, fruits also contain iron.
“This iron as you eat accumulates, produces what we call free radicals, while these free radicals jump, they can oxidise or damage what we call blood cholesterol; that is the fat you find in the blood.
“When you pierce fat it will burst and when this bursts, you will see it stuck in the artery; the artery is the vein that takes blood to the heart.
“As it stops there, it will make it difficult for the heart to receive nutrients and by so doing, somebody can develop heart attack.
“Blood donation can ensure that this iron does not get to the level of producing many radicals.
“In the issue of cancer; while these radicals also move, it has the tendency of damaging our DNA. If a cell’s DNA is broken, it means it does not have control again.
“And what do we mean by cancer? When a cell is growing uncontrollably, that is cancer. So also, donating blood can help in reducing this.”
Ubarieke said that experience had shown that voluntary donors were usually much more reliable because they gave truthful information about their lifestyles, a necessity before blood could be donated.
“To ensure that the blood being donated is safe, it should be done voluntarily; when one comes to donate, a questionnaire is issued to the person to supply the necessary information needed to ensure his or her eligibility.’’
“Voluntary blood donation is the most important and most accepted anywhere in the world today.
“For you to donate blood, some people have always thought that when you just walk up to the National Blood Transfusion Service, you donate blood, no.
“Before you donate blood, you must have attained the ages of between 18 years and 65 years; your body mass must weigh at least 50 kg and above. We must, for sure, check your hemoglobin level; so we must, as a matter of fact, check if you have enough blood.
“Blood donation is given from the excess that is in your body, so we must ascertain by checking your hemoglobin level to ensure that yes, you have this blood to give out.’’
The NAN forum where Ubarieke spoke is a monthly interactive meeting of members of staff of the agency’s Editorial Department, packaged to sensitise them on different issues including health and hygiene. (NAN)