So today I gave blood and it felt good….please if you are not already registered sign up with the NHS Give Blood today and book an appointment to donate

There are approximately 65 million people in the UK and only 1.5 million are registered to give blood.

If you are aged 17-75, fit and healthy, weighing over 50kg you can donate. They need all blood groups from all ethic backgrounds. It’s safe and easy, only takes an hour, isn’t painful and importantly you are saving lives.

Blood is made up of a number of components, including red blood cells, platelets and plasma. Each of these can be used to treat many different conditions, such as anaemia, cancer, blood disorders, and those having surgery.

The blood you give is a lifeline in an emergency and for people who need long-term treatments.

Many people would not be alive today if donors had not generously given their blood.

The NHS needs over 6,000 blood donations every day to treat patients in need across England. Which is why there’s always a need for people to give blood.

Each year they need approximately 200,000 new donors, as some donors can no longer give blood. Men can give blood every 12 weeks and women can give blood every 16 weeks.

The donation process is a breeze – I went to the town hall for my scheduled time of 4pm. There was no wait…. I was given a booklet to read about the process and after care, a form to fill in and told to help myself to a drink and some snacks if I wanted. They recommend you eat a good breakfast and lunch before and are well hydrated…. I had just come from a scrummy late Greek lunch of octopus and veggies so I was well fuelled!

5 minutes later I was taken to sit with a nurse and asked a series of questions according to the form I had filled in. Nothing taxing they are just trying to figure out if anyone might have been in contact with malaria or the Zika virus. She took a pinprick finger sample of blood testing my iron levels – all normal which is good to know!

Then I was moved onto a donation chair and the most charming young man came to work with me. After making me feel comfortable he explained what he would be doing and then finding a suitable vein inserted the needle. It wasn’t painful – the nurses are experts and do donations all day everyday so you are in expert hands. Blood was flowing instantly  I lay there for around 15 minutes whilst giving 470ml (nearly a pint) of blood. They advised clenching my bum and hands to speed up the process so I sat there listening to the 80”s tunes from the radio they had on squeezing my bum, flexing my feet and hands!

The needle was taken out and I was told to put pressure on the area with a cotton pad for 2 minutes – they timed this exactly. Then a plaster put on and I was moved to the recovery area for more water and snacks. Avoiding the biscuits and crisps obviously I opted for some raisins to perk me up although I actually felt totally normal.

In and out in 45 minutes – I’m proud of myself – knowing one day my blood will save some lives.

There are even added Health and Wellness benefits of donating blood:

It burns 650 calories for every pint given as the body ahs to replenish itself.

Stimulates new blood cell production

After donating blood, the body replaces all of the blood volume within 48 hours, and all the red blood cells within four to eight weeks….helping to maintain good health

Helps prevent cancer cells developing. By donating blood the iron stores in the body are maintained at healthy levels. A reduction in the iron level in the body is linked with low cancer risk.

Helps prevent heart and liver ailments caused by iron overload. 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.

Prevents 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, anaemia or other disorders. Regular blood donation may help in reducing iron overload.