Can you donate blood while fasting?

The number of people who donate blood during fasting is usually much reduced because this activity is considered to make the body weak and interfere with fasting. However, blood donation actually brings many benefits to the donor and, of course, the recipient.

Therefore, do not hesitate to donate a little of your blood to those in need.

It is safe to donate blood during the fasting month. However, after that, there is a risk of dehydration and weakness that you need to pay attention to.

The body can become weak after the donor is finished because during fasting you do not receive food intake for a dozen hours. Plus, the overall blood supply in the body will be drastically reduced so that the brain becomes deprived of nutrients and oxygen.

Can you donate blood while fasting?

The brain that lacks oxygen and nutrients cannot work as optimally as usual and ultimately affects the work of other body organs, such as the heart.

When the brain is deprived of oxygen, the heart also slows down to produce new red blood cells to replace the lost ones. A slower heart pumping blood can cause blood pressure to drop dramatically.

The brain that lacks blood intake is very at risk of making you feel weak and even fainting after donating blood on an empty stomach.

Because for the heart and brain to work optimally again, these two vital organs need “fuel” from food.

In addition, you are also more at risk of becoming dehydrated. Keep in mind, that as much as 90% of the blood content is water.

So, when you lack blood it means you also lack body fluids. What’s more, you also continue to excrete water through sweat or urine when urinating.

Although there are risks that may be experienced after carrying out blood donation activities, as long as you do it according to the recommendations, the risk of becoming weak, dehydrated, or even fainting will be much reduced.

Criteria for people who are allowed to donate blood while fasting

When fasting, you are still allowed to donate blood as long as you meet several requirements so that all risks that may occur can be minimized. The following are the requirements for blood donation that have been set by the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI):

  • Physically and mentally healthy
  • 17-65 years old
  • Weight 45 kg and over
  • Systolic blood pressure 110-170 and diastolic 70-100
  • Hemoglobin levels are in the range of 12.5g% to 17.0g%
  • The range between one blood donor and another is at least 12 weeks or 3 months.
  • In two years, a maximum of 5 blood donors.

However, if you have the following conditions, PMI does not recommend that you donate blood while fasting:

  • Cancer
  • Heart and lung disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Blood disorders
  • Epilepsy and frequent seizures
  • History of hepatitis B or C
  • Syphilis
  • Alcohol and drug addiction
  • Another reason that makes doctors not recommend blood donation.

So to be more sure whether or not you can donate blood while fasting, it is better to consult further with the nearest hematologist.

Tips for safe blood donation while fasting

So that you can donate blood in the month of fasting without fear of feeling weak, there are several things you should do, such as:

1. Eat regularly

Eating regularly with adequate portions at iftar and suhur on the day before donating blood helps keep blood sugar levels stable.

Having a heavy meal or snack before the D-day is important so that you have enough energy so that you don’t feel dizzy or light-headed after donating blood.

You should also eat healthy foods and drinks after donating blood. The recommended types of foods are iron-rich foods, such as meat and green vegetables, to help the body produce new red blood cells.

At dawn the next morning, it is also still important to multiply foods high in iron.

2. Drink enough before donating

Nearly half of the donated blood consists of water. Fluids lost during donors can make your blood pressure drop. Eventually, you become weak and dizzy.

So that this can be avoided, you should drink at least 500 ml of water when breaking the fast  on the D-day of the donation. It would be better if you drink close to dawn so that your body fluids are not reduced too much just before the donation.

3. Reduce exercise intensity

Avoid strenuous exercise such as lifting weights the day before and after you donate blood.

The body needs adequate rest in order to replenish the fluids lost during donation. This is useful for avoiding headaches when donating so that you stay fit.

If you still want to exercise, choose just to walk. However, make sure you are fully recovered and not tired before donating your blood.

4. Choose the right clothes

One of the things to consider when you want to donate blood is the type of clothing used. Choose short sleeves or one that you can roll past your elbow when donating.

This makes it easier for officers to get blood vessels. To be more comfortable, you can wear loose clothing and materials that absorb sweat.

5. Get enough sleep

The night before the donation, make sure you get enough sleep about 7 to 9 hours.

Even though you have to get up, you can go to sleep immediately after and wake up late enough to approach Imsak so that your sleep needs are sufficient.

Enough sleep keeps you awake and refreshed during blood donation. It is also able to reduce the risk of not feeling well after donating blood.

The Right Time to donate blood in the month of fasting

Blood donation for people who are fasting should be done in the morning considering that there may not be so much activity so you still have enough energy after the donation.

Moreover, the urge to urinate in the morning may not be as high as at other times. Therefore, the risk of dehydration can be anticipated.

If that’s not possible, you can find time to donate blood after breaking your fast and make sure you’re eating and drinking enough. So, your body condition remains fit, both before, during, and after the donation.

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