A lack of healthy red blood cells produces anemia and may increase the risk of dying after a stroke

Anemia Causes Higher Risk of Death After Stroke

NEW RESEARCH SHOWS MEN WITH ANEMIA HAVE INCREASED RISK OF DEATH WITHIN FIRST YEAR FOLLOWING STROKE

This blog was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated in July 2013, but you can read the original post here.

Anemia is the most common blood condition in the world. It develops when you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to transport oxygen to your cells. Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common type, but there are many others, each with its own cause and treatment. New research now suggests that anemia may increase your risk of death following a stroke.

The study was presented at the American Stroke Association meeting in February. Researchers from the Yale University School of Medicine reviewed the medical records of 3,750 men who had suffered an ischemic stroke and were treated in one of 131 Veterans Administration Hospitals in 2007.

When they compared survival rates of those with anemia to non-anemic patients they found severe anemia increased the risk of dying 3.5 times while the patient was still in the hospital and 2.5 times within the first year following the stroke. Those with moderate anemia had twice the risk of dying within six months to a year after their stroke and for those with mild anemia the risk was 1.5 times higher than those without anemia.

During an ischemic stroke a blood vessel to the brain is blocked or a blood clot occurs within the brain. The researchers believe anemia restricts the body’s natural response to raise the blood pressure after a stroke in order to force more blood to the brain. Anemia also decreases the amount of oxygen reaching the brain after a stroke when it is most needed.

The report concluded that stroke survivors with anemia have an increased risk of dying within the first year and should be closely monitored.

The researchers stated further studies are needed to see if the results are the same for women and blacks, who were not included in their population. They also said they would like to determine what type of anemia patients who suffer strokes have and whether a blood transfusion might prevent them from dying.

Are you ready to be tested to see if you have anemia?

Visit donation centers to make blood bank donations during National Blood Donor Month

Blood Bank Donations Needed: Donate Now!

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. This site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read the original blog here.

VISIT DONATION CENTERS TO MAKE BLOOD BANK DONATION DURING NATIONAL BLOOD DONOR MONTH

There’s a joke told in blood donation centers about a pick-up line a man uses to attract a pretty woman. It starts out, “Hi, I’m O-negative, so I can donate to anyone.” I can’t remember the rest of the joke, but you may be able to hear it if you donate now during National Blood Donor Month!

Blood bank donations are needed every day of the year to supply the more than 40,000 units (pints) needed. People undergoing cancer treatments, organ transplants and other medical procedures may be able to get family and friends to donate in advance for them, but who is prepared for an accident? Someone with burns over most of her body may need 20 or more pints of blood while a person in a serious automobile accident can require more than 50 pints of blood.

During the winter months, blood donations are down due to the holidays, more inclement weather keeping people at home or interfering with blood drives, and more illnesses making people unable to donate. At the same time, bad weather conditions increase the number of highway accidents and the use of portable heaters that can cause house fires.

Only 38% of the population is eligible to give blood, so it’s important that those of us who can, do. Unfortunately, less than 5% actually make blood bank donations. The most frequent donors visit donation centers 5 times a year, or once every 56 days. The unit of blood we give represents 10% of the blood in our body, but within two weeks it is completely replaced in a healthy donor.

Requirements to Donate Now:

  • At least 17 years of age, with no upper age limit. Younger people can give in some states with parental consent.
  • Weight at least 110 pounds
  • In good health on day of donation

Reasons You Can’t Donate Now:

  • Low hematocrit (see explanation below)
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Recent Body piercing or tattoo
  • Hepatitis
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Recent travel within certain countries
  • Organ or tissue transplants
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexually transmitted disease
  • Recent vaccinations
  • Chagas disease (rare disease spread by a parasite found in Latin America)

Build Up Your Blood Before You Donate

Having a low hematocrit or hemoglobin level is the most common reason for being temporarily deferred from donating, and accounts for 10% of female donors being unable to donate. The Food and Drug Administration requires a hematocrit of 38% for everyone who donates blood. For most males, a hematocrit below that level indicates they may be anemic, so they are disqualified. But females can have normal, healthy blood with a hematocrit between 36%-38%, so have to boost their level even higher in order to qualify.

To avoid a wasted trip to the donation center, take these steps before giving blood:

  • For at least 3 days before you plan to donate, include plenty of iron-rich foods in your meals. Lean beef, dark green vegetables, enriched breads and cereals, and canned or bagged beans are great choices.
  • The day of your donation drink an extra 16 ounces or more of caffeine-free and alcohol-free fluids to increase your blood volume
  • Avoid eating too much fat before your donation so it won’t interferes with your blood tests

To learn more about the risks of anemia, read here.