Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience
Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience
Donating blood is one of the most selfless ways of helping others. But when it comes to people with specific health conditions like diabetes, certain factors might make you ineligible for this noble cause. This is because even though people with diabetes are allowed to donate blood, there are quite a few requirements that should be considered.
Donating blood if you are a prediabetic:
According to Dr. Mihir Raut, Sr. Consultant Diabetologist at Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai, “People with prediabetes are eligible for blood donations as long as they do not have any specific heart problems.”
Things to keep in mind before donation:
Dr Raut says that the eligibility your is dependent upon how well you have managed your condition through lifestyle management or diabetes medicines.
Here’s a checklist of all the requirements you need to fulfil before donating blood:
- You are in good health.
- Your sugar levels are well under control, i.e. fasting blood sugars under 140 mg/d.
- Your HbA1c levels are between 42 and 47 mmol/mol (6.0–6.4%).
- You aren’t on insulin injections since they are more prone to hypoglycemic attacks.
- You are not anaemic (low red blood cells).
- Your blood pressure is below 180/100.
- You weigh at least 110 pounds (49.8 kg).
- You are 18 years or older and up to 60 years of age.
If you check all the above boxes are ready to go in for a donation, make sure you:
- Have a hearty meal that is rich in iron.
- Bring a detailed list of all the medications you are currently taking.
- You are donating only once a year.
Donating blood if you have diabetes:
“Diabetics may give blood as long as the other medical requirements are met. Diabetics who are on medication can donate blood only if their medication hasn’t changed in the last four weeks or so. Changes in medication include both, types of medications and dosage changes,” suggest Dr Raut.
What about diabetics who are on insulin:
According to Dr. Rinku Bhatia, Head –Dept. Of Transfusion Medicine, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai, “A person with diabetes who is taking insulin to control his/her blood sugar levels is permanently deferred to donate blood according to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. This is mainly because these patients are more prone to hypoglycaemia. Only a donor who is on oral hypoglycemic agents with well-controlled diabetes is allowed to donate.”
“Ideally, if a diabetic is on high medication or he/she is taking insulin (regular insulin injections and insulin pump therapy), it is advisable not to donate blood to avoid interaction and reaction,” adds Dr Raut.
Diabetes-related conditions that prohibit one from donating blood
Dr. Bhatia suggests that some diabetes-related conditions also prohibit diabetics from donating blood. Such as:
- Hypoglycemia – Low blood sugar can be dangerous but can be prevented by taking a proper meal before donation.
- Diabetics with ulcers as this are caused by diabetic neuropathy or any other numbness-related heart condition.
- Patients with pancreatic tissue transplant.
- Diabetics with kidney issues are permanently deferred from it.
- And lastly, patients with cardiac disease or diabetic retinopathy.
As long as a person with diabetes maintains his blood sugar, he or she can donate blood. However, we advise consulting with your doctor first. Doctors can answer any questions you might have and can help you determine whether this is the best option for you.
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