Should Diabetics Donate Blood

Diabetes is a very serious condition that is affecting growing numbers of people in the United States.

While there is no cure for it, it can be managed in such a way that most diabetics with some vigilance can live as full and healthy life as any other person, and do many of the same things that other people can do – including diet and exercise.

The key word in that paragraph is “vigilance.”

Vigilance in monitoring and controlling diabetes is the real key to living a normal life in Tampa, Timbuktu or Toledo. And that vigilance – almost an obsessive-compulsive level – is important for doing even selfless things for other people – such as giving blood.

As diabetes is a blood-sugar issue, it can be seen that diabetic blood may not be the best-suited for blood donations to help keep people alive and whole. But there is nothing precluding those with diabetes from donating blood per se, as diabetes isn’t about the blood itself and making it unhealthy, but it’s about the blood sugar level in the blood.

Those who wish to donate blood go through a full health screening, whether he or she is a diabetic or not. The fact that you have diabetes will be noted, and the diabetic must affirm that the blood sugar is controlled and that the person is truly vigilant in monitoring the sugar levels, are taking medication as prescribed and/or is executing a consistent diet and exercise program.

Provided all that is verified and the work continues, most blood clinics will allow a diabetes patient to donate blood without much restriction.  However, it is always a good idea to consult with your doctor prior to donating any blood, just to make sure all the bases are covered. Normally, you should be able to donate blood every two months or so, but you should never do it if you are not feeling well.

Some key things to consider:

  • Avoid any strenuous activities for at least 24 hours after a donation.
  • Increase your fluids for several days after donating. If you usually drink eight cups of water a day, consider pushing that to 10 cups a day for about a week after donating, for example.
  • Do not go to donate while hungry or thirsty, but don’t’ fill your tummy right before donating; donate about 1-2 hours after eating.
  • Make sure your blood sugar level is normal when you donate. The donation process takes an hour or so, and you don’t’ need your blood sugar level dropping during the 10 minutes of donation.

There are very few things as noble as giving blood, and those with diabetes should have every opportunity to be as noble as anyone else. Vigilance is key to charity.