Monday, 4 May 2015

The Deadly Link - Sickle Cell Deases

What is Sickle cell disease?

A serious disorder in which the body makes sickle or crescent-shaped red blood cells (RBC). Unlike normal RBCs, sickle cells are stiff and sticky. They tend to block regular blood flow which can result in organ damage.

There is a direct relationship between malaria and sickle cell trait. Tribal account for 8.6% of the total population of India but 50% of the tribal deaths are due to malaria.

What is the treatment?
If a person with sickle cell trait (SCT) marries another with the condition, they are likely to pass it on their children.

What is government strategy?
The government wants to identify children with SCT and through marriage counseling advise them against marrying a person with the condition.

For the first time in India, the government will screen more than 5 crore tribal children for sickle cell trait, a condition that is prevalent in epidemic proportions in tribal-dominated areas and directly linked to malaria deaths in the country. Tribal children with sickle cell trait will be issued a card and given counseling advising them against marrying another person with a similar condition as this increases the likelihood of the condition being passed on.

Working on the directives of PM Narendra Modi, who had ordered a similar initiative in Gujarat as state chief minister, the tribal affaire ministry will conduct a massive exercise in all states from July. The ministry will work in collaboration with state governments and conduct blood tests of all tribal students in schools and hostels to determine whether they have sickle cell trait.

In the first phase, the government will screen tribal students in school and hostels managed by tribal welfare departments and then extend it to schools run by the education department and private institutions. The government has identified 10 tribal-dominated Schedule V area states as priority states -- Andhra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Telengana, Rajasthan, Himachal, MP, Odisha and Maharashtra. Other priority states include the northeastern states, Tamilnadu and Karnataka.

The government is using the summer vacation months to train aanganwadi and health workers to conduct the blood test. These will be conducted after school reopen in July. The government will approach out-of-school children through community groups.
The government's concern over sickle cell anemia or sickle cell trait stems from its links to malaria. Tribal account for 8.6% of the total population of India but 50% of the death due to malaria. If a person with sickle cell trait marries another affected person, the children have a likelihood of being born with sickle cell disease, which is very difficult to manage.


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Why Is Blood Needed More During The Holidays?

As the holidays approach everyone is getting ready to decorate their homes, preparing their shopping lists, and planning their trips to visit family out of town. At this time of year, the community doesn’t realize how much their local blood centers could really use their support with blood donations.

Did you know that every two seconds someone in India is in need of blood? This means that the need for blood is always present. And during the holidays blood is needed even more frequently for a couple big reasons.

Reason #1: Local high schools and colleges are typically on holiday break.

Most of the blood that is collected comes from local high schools and colleges where students attend the blood drives scheduled at their campus. Typically around this time of year, students are on holiday breaks, making it a little bit more difficult for blood centers to keep their blood supplies at safe levels. This is when the blood centers depend on the community to keep their shelves stocked. Now this is only one reason as to why blood is needed most during the holidays. There are several other situations that affect blood centers all around India during the holidays.

Reason #2: Traveling increases and so do accidents.

Around this time of year, there are also tons of people taking trips to spend the holidays with their loved ones. This makes blood donors unavailable to donate for a certain amount of time depending on how long they will be away. It can be difficult finding time to do anything after traveling for a long period of time, with having to get settled back into normal routines and knowing how our schedules will look. However, the need for blood never ends, and this is why people should make time to pause, relax, and take an hour of their valuable time to help save up to three lives during the holidays.

As holiday traveling increases so do accidents. A single accident victim can use up to 100 units of blood, which is a significant amount of blood to substitute. Once again this raises the need for blood donations during the holidays.

This holiday season, give a gift that can help save a life. With schools being out and traveling on the rise, this time of the year increases the need for blood tremendously. So again, be a hero and take an hour to help your local blood center keep their blood supply at a safe level. Most of all, help save some lives!


Monday, 22 December 2014

Health Benefits of Donating Blood

Health Benefits of Donating Blood
A spider bite might not transform you into a superhero, but a small needle prick and a little of your time sure can. Yes, by donating blood you’ll be saving up to three human lives each time. And here is even more awesome news: not only is donating blood extremely beneficial to those on the receiving end, it also has proven benefits to the person donating blood. Hereare some of the benefits you gain for you humanitarian efforts.
1. The Joy of Saving Human Lives
It is such a wonderful feeling being able to help doctors save human lives. There are no perfect substitutes for human blood. The blood you donate is divided into various components according to the needs of patients. Each component can be used by different recipients for various purposes. Many new-born babies may benefit from a single blood donor as their blood requirements are smaller. Every time you donate blood, you can help up to 3 or 4 individual recipients. Be a hero by donating blood.
2. Free Health Check-up
You can donate blood only if you are fit enough to do so. Before every blood donation process, a series of health check-ups are performed on the donor totally free of cost. This will be of great benefit to you. For example, you will come to know of any blood pressure abnormalities. That will help diagnose some of the indolent diseases at the early stage before they get flared up and present with multiple medical problems. Further, after the blood is donated, the blood and blood products that are derived from them are screened for certain infections. You can choose to be informed if they find any abnormality in those screening tests. Frequent blood donations are good free health check-ups that will help you stay healthy.
3. Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Regular blood donations help to keep the levels of iron in the body in check, especially in males. This has shown to reduce heart disease. Though iron is an essential element for the proper functioning of the body, excessive iron build up can result in excessive oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is the major culprit implicated in accelerated ageing, heart attacks, strokes etc.
4. Burns Calories
One time blood donation helps you shed 650 Kcal. This can aid you in your body weight control measures. However, blood can be donated safely once in two or three months and not more frequently. This will depend on your health status and your blood haemoglobin and iron levels.
5. Reduces the Risk of Cancer
High levels of iron have been implicated in cancer. Theoretically, donating blood frequently will reduce the risk of cancers. More research is going on to find strong evidence on this one. However, the old myth that blood donations may lead to cancer has been put to the grave.
Few more benefits:
  1. A Whole blood donor can donate as frequently as 90 days. A benefits from this often is that you receive a mini-physical examination .
  2. Statistics show that 25% or more of us will require blood at least once in our life time.
  3. Men who participate in blood donation experience a 30% lower incident of heart disease and stroke.
  4. Blood donation can reduce the overall iron levels which may protect from heart disease.
  5. Blood donation forces your body to replace the lost blood with fresh new cells.
  6. Men don't have menstrual periods, so they store more iron in their body which is harmful by creating free radical injury.
  7. Voluntary blood donation is not only a confidential and free mean by which HIV,HBS,HCV,VDRL,MALARIA testing can be done , but is also offers this testing in a socially acceptable and non-stigmatizing setting.
  8. When you donate one unit of blood, our body burns 650 calories. So it keeps you fit and prevent obesity and complications.
  9. There is lower incidence of coronary heart disease and obesity in blood donors, as it lowers the cholesterol and other lipids.
  10. It has been found that elderly people in good health have reported feeling invigorated and reenergized by giving blood on regular basis.
  11. As an individual donates more frequently, anxiety decreases and positive feeling increases and self-commitment develops, so it adds to one's self esteem and general well-being.

Still having doubts and excuses that prevent you from donating blood? Watch this video.
Donating blood is a very safe procedure and is not harmful to you. You will be assessed for your eligibility by medical personnel before you can donate blood. The bare minimum: A healthy 16 year old weighing at least 110 lbs.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Spread the good word – Donate blood, Save Lives

The number of people who come forward to donate blood are just too small as compared to the overall demand for blood to be used for the medical treatment of patients. The need for donations have always remained high. The shelf life of blood being relatively low, continuous replenishment of stocks is necessary for the blood banks. Platelets can be stored for only a week and the maximum storage time for red blood cells is only 35 days. For meeting the requirement of certain types of blood, donations from a wide variety of blood donors is necessary. If you are already a voluntary blood donor, start motivating others to join the campaign of blood donation. Save lives and light up the lives of others.

Pre donation checks

After arriving at the blood donation centre to donate blood, you will be informed about the procedure  that is described in a leaflet or pamphlet. The various aspects of blood donation are briefly explained to make you aware about it. You will be able to know whether you fit the bill or not. A confidential health information form has then to be filled up. Several information about your health and lifestyle has to be provided for evaluation. This calls for complete honesty and accuracy because any wrong information can affect the evaluation and have disastrous results. If you are a first timer, you can discuss the issues with the attending personnel.

Checking for anemia

 Next, a droplet of blood is taken from your finger tip to ascertain the amount of haemoglobin in it. The substance present in red blood cells is the haemoglobin and it helps oxygen to be carried around the body. Lower haemoglobin in the red blood cells or less number of red blood cells are indicators of Anaemia. If you have low haemoglobin level, donating blood will further reduce it and aggravate the problem for you. So, even if your blood is found to be suitable otherwise, you could be disqualified from donating blood, being anaemic.

Post donation

The blood donation process should be completed within an hour. Resting for a short while after donating blood is mandatory for any blood donor. Refreshments are offered to help recoup fast and keep away any uncomfortable feeling. Smokers are advised to abstain for two hours after giving blood to avoid feeling dizzy. The possible side effects could be:
  • - Almost 10% people experience a sore arm.
  • - Fainting and dizziness is reported among 6-7% people.
  • - About one in four person experiences bruising at the place from where the blood is taken.

Four times a year is the frequency of blood donation for men and women can donate blood three times in a year without any difficulty.