Donate Blood: It's Good for Your Heart, and Your Waistline

Family history of heart attacks?  Afraid you might be next?  Give blood.

That's right.  Get yourself to a Red Cross blood center and give up some of that valuable red stuff.

According to a new study, “Excessive iron is believed to contribute to heart disease and donating blood reduces the iron stores in the body,” newswise.com quotes Ivan Pacold, MD, chair, Cardiology Department, Loyola’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. “Plus you get a mini-assessment each time you give blood to reinforce wellness."

Many years ago I edited an article for Good Housekeeping magazine about hemochromatosis, a disease just as ugly to have as to pronounce.  Simply put, the illness came from having too much iron in your blood.  The solution?  To bleed the patient once or twice a week.

It's also the most common genetic disorder in the U.S.

A type of anemia (thalassemia) and chronic liver disease can cause it, and it can lead to arthritis, liver and pancreatic disease, even diabetes.

 But back to heart attacks, and giving blood.  It may save your life, and up to three others.  “Blood can only be obtained through human donation; there is no synthetic substitute for blood,” Pacold said.

Some research has found that donating blood can even help prevent cancer.  And here's maybe the best news of all.  It may even help you lose weight!  The Daily Mail reports that you burn 650 calories donating a pint. 

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