Diabetes and Blood Donation: You Can Donate Blood Too

Just because you have diabetes doesn't mean you can't help your community by being a blood donor. When persons with diabetes maintain good control over their diabetes and can meet any other requirements for blood donation, they are eligible to donate blood – with one exception: If at any time, the person with diabetes has ever received bovine-derived insulin, they are not eligible to donate.

Animal-Based Insulin

Bovine-derived insulin (from a cow) and porcine-derived insulin (from a pig) were the first types of insulin administered to humans. It was not until the 1980s that human insulin and human analog insulin became the standard for the treatment of diabetes. By 1998 Americans could no longer purchase domestically manufactured bovine insulin, and in 2006 domestic manufacturers ceased producing porcine insulin. Both types of insulin are still in use in other countries but are illegal for Americans to import unless specific need can be proved.

The concern about the use of animal-based insulin is the fear of transmission of animal genetic anomalies to humans. BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or "mad cow disease") is a chronic neurological disorder of cows with an incubation period of several months to several years. It is believed to be closely related to a similar disease called vCJD (new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) in humans. Because these are neurologically devastating diseases with no known cures, bovine-based products are heavily regulated.

Standard Requirements for Blood Donors

Aside from the issue of bovine-based insulin, persons with diabetes are subject to the same requirements as any other blood donors. They must be 17 years of age or older (16 years old with parental consent in some states), at least 110 pounds, in good health, not have any clotting disorders or be taking a blood-thinning agent, have a blood pressure of between 80/50 and 180/110 at time of donation and not have any known blood disorders, such as cancers of the blood, hemochromatosis or active sickle cell anemia.

There are waiting periods for certain donations. Donors must wait six months after treatment for angina, heart attack, having bypass surgery or angioplasty or a heart valve disorder. Twelve months is the waiting period if the donor has been exposed to hepatitis, has had any kind of a transplant (except the transplant of dura matter as brain covering, which rules out donation), has gotten a tattoo at an unlicensed facility, has been exposed to malaria through travel to any malaria-infested country, has been treated for syphilis or gonorrhea, or has received a blood transfusion.

Those who have ever used IV drugs, those with HIV or who have acted in such a way as to be at risk for contracting AIDS, those who have lived with or had close contact with someone with active tuberculosis and those who have ever been treated with bovine-based insulin cannot donate.

Anyone with diabetes who meets the above requirements should feel free to donate and should feel good, knowing they did something to benefit their community.

Sources: Diabetes UK, American Red Cross
Photo: Pixabay

More Articles

More than 71 million Americans suffer from high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol increases the buildup of...

A study at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows that type one diabetes can be prevented in mice.

The Study

Using diabetes-...

Diabetic shoes are important as a common side effect of diabetes is "peripheral neuropathy," which causes loss of sensation in the extremities....

In the search for a diabetes cure, a study stunned even the experts involved. Scientists at a Toronto medical center published findings that...

Bilberry tea sounds like the favorite drink at a Hobbit cafe, but the mild sounding bilberry comes with a tall list of powerful health benefits....

More Articles

With its slightly nutty flavor, chewy texture, and nutritional punch farro is an ancient whole grain worth a place in our pantry.

Farro...

Diabetic shoes are important as a common side effect of diabetes is "peripheral neuropathy," which causes loss of sensation in the extremities....

The bodies of those who suffer from type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin on their own. For this reason, patients are subject to multiple injections...

When diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, many people panic and are concerned that their life is over. In fact, if the...

Individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes experience low blood sugar while sleeping more often than they or their doctors may realize, according...

Diabetes can seem to have an almost limitless list of symptoms. Now headaches are added to the list. The ebb...

There is a connection between anxiety control, inflammation and type 2 diabetes, according to a new study conducted by Rice University researchers...

The human body needs chromium, a trace mineral, for several essential functions including the normalizing of...

Fluid retention, also known as edema, is a problem that affects many diabetics, especially those with type 2 diabetes...

The most well-known variations of diabetes are type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes....

Cooking and baking with the ancient cereal grain sorghum has health benefits for people with diabetes, and those with weight control issues....

Ideally, we would go out to our garden and pick the produce we need for each day’s meals, but that scenario is far from reality for most of us....

Anyone can develop a fungal skin infection, but people with diabetes are more prone to them. A common cause of fungal infections in those with...

Both low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can cause any of a list of reactions in the body. Among these are sleep...

This two-part article was written by Angela Meeks, the mother of 18-year-old Lilly, who was recently (and unexpectedly) diagnosed with Type 1...