Can You Donate Blood with Type 1 Diabetes?
If you are looking for a straight-forward answer, YES we can!
I did a post on donating blood about a year ago… and you can read it by clicking here. At that point, the Red Cross told me I couldn’t because of I was diagnosed (1998) and the type of insulin used back then.
After doing my research, I discovered that it was in the early 1970s that insulin was switched from cow’s insulin to pig’s insulin. The reason I was told that I couldn’t donate was because of the possibility of spreading mad cow disease… which I had already thought was incorrect last year!
Last weekend, there was a blood drive at my church. I thought I would go and try to donate again this year. I was pleasantly surprised to hear I could donate and that I passed all of their questions. My fingers were slightly cold when doing my iron test, but after a second try, I was good to go! The finger pricks didn’t bother me a bit anyway!
The blood donation part itself went good. My blood sugar levels remained in the 150-160 mg/dL range. (I was afraid they would drop, but they didn’t). At the end, I drank a small juice-box just in case.
My face started to go white. My head hurt. I felt nauseous. I felt like a white box was closing in. I started to sweat profusely. Everyone quickly noticed that something was wrong. The nurse rushed over, laid me down with my feet in the air, and put a cold cloth on my head.
I questioned why this could have happened to me? Was my diabetes a factor? Turns out, I hadn’t drank enough water that morning, and my coffee on the car ride over probably didn’t help. I was dehydrated, and got physically sick because of it.
I should have done more research about what happens to a regular body after donating blood. I kinda thought I was invincible — a “superwoman” of sorts — but I was just completely ignorant.
So, for those of you suffering from Type 1 diabetes, my advice to you: make sure you drink lots of water!! And keep an eye on your blood sugar levels before and after donating blood.