Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can I give a blood donation if I'm anemic?"
I'm an anemic 22 year old woman and I really want to donate blood. Will they let me if I tell them it's OK to draw my blood?
Blood donations are a great and noble act. As physicians, we and our patients rely on people like yourself doing good deeds. Unfortunately, most blood donation centers will not allow people who are anemic to donate blood. Most blood donation centers will not let people who are anemic to donate blood. There are a couple of reasons. Firstly, it may be unsafe for you. Having a low blood count can be extremely dangerous as with a low level the blood cannot carry the necessary oxygen to the brain, heart and other important tissues. More commonly, people with anemia (especially sudden anemia which occurs after a donation) causes severe fatigue and even lightheadedness. Therefore it is not safe for you. The other reason is that it is not safe for the patients. Some causes of anemia suggest a blood transmissible disease therefore the cause needs to be known. Therefore the best way to donate is to correct your anemia. You should see your primary care doctor to work this up. Statistically, women your age often have iron deficiency anemia as they lose blood with menses. Simple iron pill supplementation can correct this over the course of a few months. Talk to your doctor. Avoid donation until your anemia is corrected.
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