Health Watch - Donation and Transplants: Blood Donation

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about the importance of blood, tissue and organ donation and transplantation. Most organ and tissue donation requires that the donor be dead. But you can donate blood while you’re still alive.

If you’re at least 17 years old and weigh more than 110 pounds, you’re probably eligible to donate blood. Dr. Laurie Sutor, a pathologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says one blood donation can help up to four people. Blood isn’t just needed for people who have lost blood from injuries. Blood and its components are also used to treat people with sickle cell disease, heart disease and cancer.

To make blood donation even easier, eat breakfast or lunch before donating, but avoid fatty foods. Drink extra water or juice just before donating. Wear loose-fitting clothing so you’ll be comfortable during the donation, and wear something that makes it easy to access your veins.