Are You Among the Nearly Four in Ten Individuals Eligible to Donate Blood?

September 27, 2013


Lansing, MI—September 27—According to the American Red Cross, approximately 38 percent of the population may be eligible to donate blood. Yet only a fraction of those eligible donate each year, perhaps due to misconceptions about donor eligibility.


“Sometimes, individuals with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes suspect they cannot donate blood. Cancer survivors may also think they are ineligible because of their previous illness,” stated Todd Kulman, Communications Program Manager for the American Red Cross, Great Lakes Blood Services Region. “That may not always be the case.”


Kulman explained features detailed information about eligibility criteria, including chronic and acute illnesses, travel and lifestyle topics to help individuals determine their ability to donate blood or platelets. Additional questions may be directed to the Red Cross Donor Client Support Center by calling 1-866-236-3276.


Kulman noted that the most common reason someone might not be able to donate on any given day is low hemoglobin. “Deferral for low hemoglobin can be temporary. The measure of iron in red blood cells can be improved by eating additional iron-rich foods or by discussing iron supplements with your family physician.”


Kulman added that earlier this year, the Red Cross expanded its website to include a section about iron, The web section provides specific tips for all blood donors, frequent blood donors and those who have been deferred for low hemoglobin in the past.


“We encourage anyone who is in good health to consider donating blood or platelets,” he commented. “The blood products on the shelves today are what help save lives in an emergency. Blood and platelets can come only from generous volunteer donors.”