Why You Should Donate Blood Plasma

April 7, 2009 by
Filed under: How To Help, Philosophy 


Blood donors have clot.

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I have occasionally donated blood in the past few years and after my last extraction, toward the end of 2008, the blood bank discovered that I had recently endured a case of shingles. They called me right away, spoke very kindly to me and almost begged me to donate plasma. They needed my shingles antibodies and giving plasma was the way to share them.

Always one to help, I agreed. I started with a bit of apprehension but soon learned there was nothing to be afraid of. Since my first draw I have donated plasma several times and learned quite a bit about this very valuable substance and the many life saving or enhancing things it is used to do.

I didn’t know this before but plasma contains some very important health maintaining substances. It is mostly water but it constitutes a very special stream which carries blood cells (white and red), nutrients of all kinds, antibodies (without which we would be sick constantly) and platelets (which controls blood clotting and healing when injured). 

Important stuff!

Diseases Treated by Plasma

Plasma use is quite versatile. There are many things which can be treated effectively with this substance. The shingles antibodies extracted from my plasma, for example, are used to build an inoculation against chicken pox. That doesn’t seem like a big deal until you discover that chicken pox for a child with leukemia can be fatal. When I learned that I thought, bring it on. Take some more!

The unfortunate thing is, antibodies of any kind don’t remain at a sufficient level to make plasma donation useful. What a disappointment. But, I also learned there are ways to continue this life giving exercise.

Rabies

By receiving rabies inoculations the blood builds up enough rabies antibodies to turn your plasma into a factory for building a greater supply of inoculations for rabies. Where I live, South Africa, rabies is a big problem. I am being inoculated now in preparation to donate for this purpose once my shingles antibodies count has fallen too low to help.

Immune Deficiency Disorders

This is huge. Some people are born with an immune system that doesn’t work so well.  They are susceptible to the everyday bacteria and viruses against which most of us are protected. Because of this condition they are sick constantly and unable to live normal lives. The solution? They can be injected with the antibodies extracted from healthy plasma donors. And it literally gives them a normal life.

But a one-time donation will not suffice. Immune deficient people need treatments regularly (as much as five times a week) so donors must commit to regular extractions.

Hemophilia

Platelets found in blood plasma control blood clotting and can therefore be used to treat hemophiliacs.

Serious injuries

Platelets are also the bodies healing agents and when introduced to the injured area in concentrated amounts can be used to quicken the healing process. They have used Platelet rich blood plasma recently to treat sports injuries with great effect.

Many more applications

The usefulness of blood plasma is much bigger than these brief descriptions indicate. The Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) indicates the following conditions are also treated with blood plasma: Genetic lung disorders, shock, trauma, major surgery, Rh incompatibility, cardiopulmonary needs, transplant recipients, pediatric HIV, hepatitis and serious liver conditions.

Julie Birkofer, PPTA Vice President, North America said:

In the USA alone “tens of thousands of individuals rely on plasma protein therapies to treat rare, chronic diseases and disorders, which include hemophilia and other bleeding disorders, primary immunodeficiency diseases, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, Kawasaki disease, and certain autoimmune and neurological disorders…These protein replacement therapies are life-saving.

PPTA also says there are more than 1 million people worldwide treated with plasma derived therapies. It is so simple to contribute and so useful that it makes you wonder why more people don’t do so. It only takes a little bit of time and a sincere interest in making a contribution.

To find a donation center near you . . .

  • In South Africa call 080 11 9031
  • Check out this Google link.
  • Or Google blood donation centers for your country.

Facts:

  • It takes plasma from over 120 people for just one bone marrow transplant operation.
  • In some countries you get paid for donating plasma.
  • You can donate plasma as frequently as twice a week.
  • Receiving saline solution while donating helps the body to restore the plasma quickly. If they don’t automatically give it ask for it.
  • There are no long-term side effects to giving plasma.
  • Medical science makes no progress without your donations.

Source plasma used to produce life-saving therapies is donated by healthy committed individuals. Are you making a contribution? If not, check out the links listed and become a part of the solution.

THINK!AboutIt

Comments

6 Comments on Why You Should Donate Blood Plasma

  1. Joanna Tierno on Tue, 7th Apr 2009 8:50 pm
  2. I was born with hypogammaglobulinemia, which is a primary immune deficiency of the main antibody defense against bacteria. Treatment of my immune deficiency involves antibody replacement therapy which I get 4-5 times a week (immune globulin) and is made possible by plasma donors. I am very grateful for these treatments that help me stay healthy & I just want to say thanks to everyone that donates plasma! Thank you too for writting this and helping raise awareness of the need for donations.

  3. EnnisP on Tue, 7th Apr 2009 10:57 pm
  4. Thanks for sharing Joanna. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the many conditions treated by plasma derived products. It was only when I had shingles and was requested to donate that I learned how significant plasma can be. Anyway, all the best and thanks for sharing.

  5. EnnisP on Sat, 9th May 2009 8:05 am
  6. Hey Ajmdc,
    I gave platelets last Monday and while the nurses were doing their job I was asking questions (my normal routine – I’m more inquisitive than a two year old).

    One question was, are there any restrictions on who can use my plasma or platelets, did their blood type have to be the same as mine? And the answer is, there is no restriction. The plasma or platelets from any blood type and be used universally to treat any blood type. That makes giving plasma or platelets even more useful than I originally thought.

    BTW, I was also told that one donation is enough to save the life of one adult or two children. That is an amazing thought.

  7. Study in China on Sat, 3rd Aug 2013 1:51 pm
  8. It’s great that they pay in other countries for blood and plasma donations because the way I see it is that it could really help the poor and those who need the money. I live in S.A and they don’t have a payment system implemented but that isn’t my biggest issue, the issue I have is that there isn’t a ranking system for donors. If you take blood donors as an example, they should be entitled to receive blood first and it doesn’t have to be free but there should be a ranking system implemented.
    Maybe those who forgo a number of payments when donating could be entitled to receive blood first (in countries that pay). Donating plasma, on the other hand, should be done provided, unlike myself, you’re fine with needles.

    Regards,
    Aadil

  9. EnnisP on Sat, 3rd Aug 2013 3:43 pm
  10. Good point Aadil. No pun intended.

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