The effect of donating blood on blood pressure.

Q: I donate whole blood every 3 months to the American Red Cross. I give platelets
once a month to Atlanta Blood Services . I noticed that when I do this, my pressure is lowered. It’s my belief that fresh/renewed red blood cells or replenished platelets may reduce water retention/sodium in my blood. I was wondering what blood product, (ie red blood cells, platelets, or plasma) contains the most water or sodium? Is there any research that supports this belief? I would like to know what impact does donating blood products have on high blood pressure.

A: Donating blood causes only a temporary reduction in blood pressure. I am not aware of any studies showing donating blood reduces water retention by the body. Plasma contains more water than any other component of your blood. Frequent blood donation does reduce the iron stores of the body. Frequent donors are at risk for developing anemia. Make sure your diet contains enough iron to replenish your supply. For a listing of iron rich foods go to this page on The American Red Cross site.

Donating blood is a wonderful gift to mankind. Your gift saves lives. To learn more about donating blood go to this page on The American Red Cross site.

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