Category Archives: Platelets

National Blood Donor Month

NBDM-logocolor9This year, make a new years resolution that will help others. Giving blood is an easy way to help save a life. Every day hospitals need 44,000 donations for their cancer, burn and bone marrow transplant patients. Usually blood banks are able to have a moderate supply of blood on hand for nearby banks, but January is different. Most blood banks find that they are in short supply in the winter months with January being their low period. National Blood Donor Month was created to help bring their stores back up.

When you give blood, you are giving about 1 pint. Most adults have somewhere between 8 and 12 pints of blood in their system. There are 4 products that can be separated from your whole-blood donation; red cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate. With your 1 pint donation they are able to make 2 or 3 of these products to help individuals.

Of these 4 components, platelets expire the quickest. They have a life span of 5 days and are in need of constant supply. When donating you have the option to donate whole blood, or just platelets. When donating just the platelets it take longer, about 2 hours, but they return the other liquids and parts of your blood back into your body. By doing this, you give about 3 doses worth of platelets. If you give whole blood, they have to combine your platelets with those of 4 others in order to get a full dose.

The red cells from your donation can last about 42 days before they are too degraded and expire. On average 1.62 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year. They are dependent on these blood stores, especially after a chemotherapy session in order to keep themselves healthy. It is difficult to find them these donations because only 38% of the population is healthy enough or meet the requirements to donate blood. Of that 38% less than 10% give blood every year. The 3.8% of the population that are helping are given a time restraint. It takes about 56 days before they are healthy enough to give again. National Blood Donor month was created in the hopes that more people would help over come this time restraint and give blood.

Did you know?

  • It took about 12 units of blood to help save Reagan. Over a dozen strangers gave the blood needed to keep him alive
  • The first successful blood transfusion was given during the civil war. They didn’t know about blood types, so it was more luck that it worked than skill.
  • If you live to be 72, there is a 90% chance you will have a blood transfusion.
  • George Washington was purposefully bled to death. Physicians at the time thought that bleeding the “bad blood” out would get ride of a cold. Washington bled through about half his blood supply before he died.
  • Elizabeth Bathory may be the root of vampire legends. This Hungarian Countess believed that if she bathed in young girls blood, it would restore her youth. She was finally charged with killing about 650 girls, but her family’s power prevented any retaliation against her.

 

 

 

http://www.redcrossblood.org/news/southeasternmichigan/national-blood-donor-month

http://www.redcrossblood.org/plateletFAQ#FAQ4

http://www.redcrossblood.org/learn-about-blood/blood-facts-and-statistics

http://www.readingeagle.com/life/article/january-is-national-blood-donor-month-give-a-pint

http://www.lifeservebloodcenter.org/support/pdf/FunFacts.pdf

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Sport Purple for Platelets Day

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Autoimmune diseases occur when the body attacks normal, healthy parts of the body. One type of autoimmune disease is immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). A person is diagnosed with ITP if their platelet count is lower than 100,000/microliter of blood and has no other reasons for low counts. Normal platelet counts range from 150,000-400,000/microliter of blood. Platelets are responsible for blood clotting which is important when we get cuts or other circulatory system trauma. Low platelet levels cause bleeding conditions including spontaneous bruising, tiny red dots on skin, and, in women, strong menses. More severe conditions are blood blisters in mouth and bleeding in the brain. ITP is usually the general diagnosis with low platelets, but there are over 200 main diagnoses, called secondary ITP.

There is no specific cause of ITP, and it can vary among individuals, but there are several treatment options. Each treatment option works differently on each individual and they also depend of the severity of the condition. Some of these treatments include antibiotics, chemotherapy, corticosteroids, platelet growth factors, and transfusions.

Transfusions are a common treatment option, but they cannot happen without platelet donations! Platelets are needed every 30 seconds for patients, and platelets must be used within 5 days. That is why is is important to encourage platelet donations as often as possible. You can donate platelets 24 times as the process is very different than donating blood. Each platelet donation can allow transfusions for 2-3 patients! In order to donate platelets, you must make an appointment. Donating platelets takes up to 3 hours (including health history and setting up equipment), but the chances of feeling sluggish afterwards is very slim (and it uses a smaller needle than the ones used for normal blood donations!). The closest location to donate platelets is located at United Blood Services in Fargo, ND. If you have questions or wish to make an appointment to donate, call United Blood Services at (800) 917-4929. Another thing to consider is that there are plenty of people who are unable to donate any blood due to their own autoimmune disorders, other health conditions. If you are unable to donate platelets, or if needles just aren’t your thing, you can make a monetary donation to support research and awareness by clicking on the following link.

http://www.pdsa.org/contribute/item/1150.html

 

Sources:

https://www.pdsa.org/component/finder/search.html?q=platelet+donations&Itemid=214

http://www.redcrossblood.org/platelets/