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Office Visit: National Blood Donor Month

By Todd Hoffman, M.D.
Note: This article appeared as a guest column in the Journal Record 

A new year is a popular time to make resolutions. Seeking out opportunities for improved health while lending a helping hand are two great ways to start the new year.

January is National Blood Donor Month, and the need for donations is great. Someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion every two seconds, according to the American Red Cross. In 2022, the Red Cross declared the U.S. was facing our worst blood shortage in more than a decade.

Todd Hoffman, M.D.

Blood donations can benefit a wide array of recipients, including cancer, trauma, sickle cell and burn patients as well as those diagnosed with chronic diseases.

One donation can save as many as three lives.

Donors also receive a mini-wellness screening just prior to donation. When you donate blood, your vital signs are taken, and it can alert you to blood pressure or irregular heartbeat concerns. These screenings also reveal possible anemia and if the donor has a rare blood type, which can be important if a medical procedure or situation where a transfusion is needed.

Regular blood donations can also improve your heart health in other ways. According to a report from the American Journal of Epidemiology, blood donors are less likely to suffer a heart attack. Blood donation helps lower iron levels. High iron levels can be a risk factor for heart attack.

High blood pressure and hypertension are leading causes for heart attack. Regular blood donors may also help improve blood flow and reduce arterial blockages, both factors that can help curtail such cardiovascular concerns.

So if you’re looking to make a new resolution in 2023, please consider rolling up your sleeve this year and donating blood. The need for donors is great. You’ll be glad you did.

Todd Hoffman, M.D., C.P.E., is chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, a division of Health Care Service Corp., a Mutual Legal Reserve Company.


A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association