Why you need to know your Blood Group?

Do you know the blood group of your family members? God forbid, what if, you or your near one ever needs blood transfusion in case of any surgery or trauma? It is absolute necessary to be aware about your blood type and how in case of emergency this can help. Not only this you can be also be the one who can save someone’s life. Let’s first understand the ABO system in naming blood group.

ABO Blood Group System

There are four major blood groups – A, B, AB and O determined by the presence of antigens, antibodies and Rh factor on the red blood cells (RBCs). If you have a blood group AB, you are a universal blood recipient, i:e, you can receive blood from any blood group type. Those of you with blood group O are universal donor, but can receive blood from only O type.

The Rh factor determines negative or positive type of blood. Rhesus or Rh factor is actually an inherited protein that comes from parents to their children. It is found on the surface of RBCs. If your blood has Rh, you’re Rh positive (+) while in absence of same your blood group is Rh negative (–).

Below is the table showing who can donate blood to which blood group type.

Who can donate blood to whom

As a healthy person, it is safe to donate blood at the gap of at least three months. For those of you who are frequent or regular blood donors, doctors advise certain precautions and care. You should eat nutritious and well-balanced diet that includes iron and vitamin C rich foods. You can also take multivitamins with iron but only in consultation with your doctor.

Below table shows the possible blood group and Rh factor of the offspring

Inheritence of blood group and Rh factor

Blood Donation – what & how much you can donate?

As a blood donor, you can donate either whole blood or specific blood components – red cells, plasma, platelets or cryoprecipitate. Blood transfusion is mostly necessary in all kinds of major surgeries. Depending upon the surgery, condition and the disease type, you may require either whole blood or any of its four main components – RBCs, WBCs, platelets, and plasma.

blood components and donationWhole blood includes red blood cells, white cells, and platelets suspended in plasma. – It is required in trauma and other surgeries like knee replacement, hip replacement, coronary artery bypass etc.

Red blood cells contain hemoglobin (Hb) having iron that carry oxygen from lungs to other parts of body and take carbon dioxide back to lungs to be exhaled. RBCs transfusion is mostly required in cases of trauma surgery, anemia, blood loss, blood disorders like sickle cell.

Platelets are colorless cells in the blood whose main role is in clotting. They stop or prevent bleeding. Platelets transfusion is generally required during Cancer treatments, Organ transplants like kidney transplant, liver transplant surgery, or Dengu fever cases etc.

Plasma is a fluid, composed of about 92% water and 7% vital proteins. It is generally transfused to the patients of burn, shock, or bleeding disorders.

Cryoprecipitated Antihemophilic Factor (Cryo) is a part of plasma. It is prepared by freezing and then thawing the frozen plasma. It is transfused in patients of Hemophilia, Von Willebrand disease (most common hereditary coagulation abnormality).

Below table presents approximate units of blood required in saving life during various surgeries

Blood required to save life for different surgeries

It takes about 15 minutes to donate one unit (450 ml) of whole blood while for apheresis (donating blood components – plasma, platelets etc.) the entire process is of about two hours.

From a unit of whole blood donated, generally two to three of these blood components are produced. Thus, your donated one unit of blood can save up to three lives. Any healthy person of at least 50 kg body weight can donate blood from the age of 18 years up to 60 years of age. For any blood transfusion, blood types are matched.

Donating blood is a safe process. Always a new, sterile, disposable needle is used for every blood donation, which is discarded once used. According to myth, you cannot get any infectious disease or AIDS by giving blood. Within 24-48 hours of blood donation, your body will soon replace the lost blood. While it takes around eight weeks to completely replenish all the components of the lost blood.

Every second someone needs blood. Be it for accident cases, major surgeries, or premature born babies. India has over 2,700 blood banks from where you can get blood in need.

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I want to thank GMA for being there whenever I needed sound advice for my IVF procedure. You have been always supporting and guiding. I wish you best of luck for all the good service you are doing by helping people to take well-informed decisions.