Plasma is one of the vital blood components required for modern medical practice. Donating plasma is an automated process where instead of donating whole blood, the donor gives only a specific part, usually plasma or platelets.
An apheresis machine is used to collect it, and both arms are used during a donation. This is because blood is extracted from one arm then the plasma is extracted using a machine, and the uncollected parts of the blood, including white blood cells and red blood cells, are returned to the donor through the other arm.
Commonly, it takes between 1 and 3 hours to donate, and during a plasma donation all of the supplies which come in contact with the blood are sterile and used only once.
- Be in general good health;
- Weigh at least 110 lbs;
- Be 18 or older.
Presently, the regulations allow people in the United States to donate twice a week, however, not on consecutive days. It is more than any other place in the world, but people do it especially for the remuneration.
What Are The Side Effects Of Donating Plasma Too Often?
Hydration helps the human body maintain proper circulation, pumps up the veins to make the blood flow easier and prevents light-headedness.
To avoid dehydration, it is recommended to consume at least 16 ounces of water (or liquids) before the procedure.
Low Blood Protein Hemoglobin In The Blood
Hemoglobin is responsible for transporting oxygen to the tissues throughout your body and is found in the red blood cells. Low hemoglobin occurs in about 10 percent of donations and it is usually a consequence of iron deficiency anemia.
Tip – vitamin C helps the body to absorb more non-iron (from plants). Hence, to get the most of this essential mineral from the food you eat, combine foods rich in vitamin C with foods high in iron.
This procedure may deplete the calcium levels in the body since, occasionally, plasma donation centers may use an anticoagulant when they apply this procedure. This may result in a loss of calcium in the blood.
Interestingly, when the calcium ions in your blood become too low, you may experience tingling in your fingers, start to feel cold, and feel nauseous.
Hypocalcemia can be prevented by consuming foods high in calcium in the days prior to donation. Nevertheless, be aware that foods high in calcium, like – dairy products, can also be high in trans fat, cholesterol, and saturated fat.
Magnesium is an essential mineral which helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, regulates heart rhythm, and keeps bones strong.
Magnesium, just as calcium, is a divalent cation and, as a result, is also bound by citrate. Infusion of citrate during this procedure has been found to lower ionized magnesium by up to 40 percent. Besides, the risk can be higher if people donate more often.
Formation of marks is one of the long-term effects that may occur after this procedure. Nevertheless, in most cases, marks do not appear and are not usually serious. Rarely, a bruise may become infected and the donor may need treatment with antibiotics.
This happens when the needle is inserted into an artery instead of a vein. However, when this happens, the medical staff is trained to deal with this complication.
Some people may feel lightheaded during or right after this medical procedure. This commonly happens when the donor did not eat enough just before donating.
Other Adverse Effects
Over time possible complications after this procedure may include – low endorphin and serotonin levels in the blood, worsening mental disorders and depression, and increasing anxiety levels.
Are There Any Benefits?
Helps Save Many People
Plasma is used to create various life-saving blood products which contribute to:
- control some autoimmune disorders where the sufferer’s immune system is attacking his tissues;
- therapies utilized in the treatment of rare conditions, such as – von Willebrand disease and hemophilia;
- enhance the immune system of patients who have low levels of antibodies.
Donors usually get paid for donating plasma and for the time they devote to improving the quality of life of other people.
Lowers LDL Cholesterol
The donation process may lower LDL cholesterol levels in donors (especially if their LDL or total cholesterol levels are high), according to a 2012 study conducted by Grifols that involved 663 adults and 9,153 plasma samples.
Tip To Donate Plasma Safely
Plasma is made up mainly of protein and water; hence, the process of donating does deprive you of those crucial nutrients.
Moreover, you can have other legumes (such as red kidney beans, lentils, navy beans, or green peas), seeds – chia seeds and flax seeds (the best source of omega 3), and nuts – almonds, walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts.
It is advised to refrain from consuming alcohol and smoking.
To donate plasma, you need to weigh at least 110 pounds, be between 18 and 64 years old, and be in good health.
More importantly, donors must have had no dental work or antibiotics three days before donation as well as no tattoos or body piercings in the last year.