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Can Type 2 Diabetics Donate Blood

Three Diet Strategies To Help Anyone Diagnosed With Prediabetes Or Type 2 Diabetes Become Wiser About Controlling Your Blood Sugar Reduce Common Complications And Achieve A Healthy Weight

Gila LyonsSusan McQuillan MS, RDN, CDNCaroline Apovian MD, FACP, FACN

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes—or even prediabetes—usually means the doctor has suggested that you make some changes to your diet or the diet of someone you care for. This is a good time to become wiser about how you are eating on a regular basis.

Fortunately, following a diabetes diet doesn’t mean giving up the joy of eating or avoiding your favorite foods and special family meals. You can still enjoy “pizza night,” celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, and partake in holiday meals and vacation dining. This is more about your routine daily food choices and meal planning.  

Use the four sections of a plate as a guide when planning healthy meals for someone with diabetes. Photo: 123RF

Eating to beat diabetes is much more about making wise food adjustments than it is about denial and deprivation. A better way to look at a diet when you have diabetes is one that helps you establish a new normal when it comes to your eating habits and food choices.1

What Are The Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar How Do I Know I’m Experiencing A Low Blood Sugar

All this talk about lows, and we haven’t told you what to watch out for! Shame on us.

The signs and symptoms of low blood sugars happen quickly, can vary a lot, and can even be different each time. The American Diabetes Association has a comprehensive list:

  • Shakiness
  • Tingling or numbness in the lips or tongue
  • Headaches

Diabetes Unfortunately Has Many Side Effects Such As Heart Problems Neuropathy Slow

Most definitely. If donors are people living with diabetes and they develop a complication due to their diabetes, we defer them until the complications are resolved, and until good control of the donors’ blood glucose level is re-established.

Persons who suffer from a hypoglycaemic coma are deferred for four months from the time of the episode. This is to ensure that their glucose control is adequate.

SANBS also doesn’t accept donors who develop diabetes as a complication of another disease process. For example, a donor who develops diabetes as a complication of acromegaly would not be accepted for the procedure.

You Should Be In Good Overall Health Before You Donate Blood With Diabetes

Besides having your blood sugars in control, you should also have other conditions under control. For example, your blood pressure should be less than 180/100 mmHg to give blood, which is higher than 140/90 mmHg that is the recommended blood pressure for people with diabetes. Conversely, if your blood pressure is less than 90/50 mmHg, you won’t be able to donate blood.

Besides diabetes, they will also ask you about other conditions, and medications which you may be taking. Diabetes medications generally won’t keep you from giving blood in the US, but there is a Red Cross list of other medications that shouldn’t be taken if you are donating blood, including blood thinners. The Red Cross representative will screen you for conditions and medications which may affect your ability to donate blood with diabetes and related health conditions.

Another thing to know is that if you plan to donate platelets, you should not take aspirin or blood thinners for several days prior to your donation. 1

Heart disease and donating blood

If you have heart complications from your diabetes, there are some things that you need to know. Heart disease will generally not stop you from donating blood if you have diabetes, but if it has been less than six months since you have had symptoms related to your heart disease, then you may not be able to donate.

Other factors that affect whether you can donate blood

How long does it take to donate blood?

How can I prepare for donating blood?

What If You Get Turned Down For Some Reason To Donate Blood With Diabetes

Can A Person With Type 2 Diabetes Give Blood

If you are unable to give blood when you have diabetes, whether due to unmanaged blood sugars, or complications of diabetes, you can still help by donating money to the Red Cross. Your donation will help the Red Cross with providing supplies for blood donation banks, providing support to families in crisis who are in need, and helping to educate people on lifesaving techniques. There are many things that the Red Cross does to help others. Your donation will help them fulfill their mission. 4

Three Diabetes Diet Strategies: Basic Guidelines For People With Diabetes

Finding your way to a healthy diet can reduce the risks associated with diabetes. There are three main goals, according to the American Diabetes Association , so following these proven strategies will help you to:

 1. Achieve a healthy body weight. Body mass index uses your height and weight to determine how much body fat you carry. A BMI of 18.5 to 25 is considered to be a healthy weight range with a healthy amount of body fat.Another measure: waist circumference is considered by many to be a better measure of excess abdominal body fat. A waist circumference—greater than 40 inches for men, and above 35 inches in women—has been shown to increase the risk of developing health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

The closer you are to a healthy body weight or at least an acceptable waist circumference, the more likely you will be able to control and, possibly reverse your risks of diabetes.

“Don’t get overwhelmed by thinking about how much total weight you have to lose,” Ms. Arevalo advises. “Studies have shown that losing just 5-10% of your body weight will significantly improve your blood sugar levels as well as your cardiovascular health so set short-term goals of losing just 5-10 pounds to start.”

Diabetes And Blood Donation: Can You Donate Blood If You Have Diabetes

It depends, just like most things in diabetes. There isn’t a clear answer between diabetes and blood donation since it relies on many factors. In short, it’s all about sugar levels and the type of insulins you have been using. It does not matter which type of diabetes you have as the eligibility criteria depend on your diabetes management and your medications.

What Are The Requirements For Donating Blood As A Diabetic Patient

Like any other individual, the conditions for blood donation as a diabetic patient are also quite similar.

One important difference that we have been focusing on until now is that your blood sugar levels must be normal. Around blood donation, you must have the blood sugar under control and aligned with the margins that are specified for type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients accordingly.

Other than that, the regular conditions are:

  • You must be over 17 years old to be donating blood.
  • Do not donate blood if you have been through recent surgeries.
  • Have light recommended snacks and drink a lot of water before donating blood.
  • Do not resort to caffeine or alcohol on the day of blood donation.
  • Also, carry a specified list of medicines you are currently using to verify your eligibility for blood donation.
  • Make sure to get good amounts of rest and sleep the previous night.
  • Resort to having light snacks after donating blood as well to prevent fatigue and lightheadedness.
  • References

    Can Diabetes Patients Using Oral Diabetes Medication Donate Blood

    Yes, persons using oral medications and diet to control their diabetes are welcome to donate. Again, their diabetes must be well-controlled and they must be well when presenting to donate blood.

    Most medication used to treat diabetes are classed as category B drugs. Therefore, are considered safe if one should opt to become a blood donor.

    • Understanding the categories of medication

    Medications are assigned to five letter categories based on their level of risk to foetal outcomes in pregnancy. It can give one a good idea on the level of safety of a drug at a glance. This is of importance in transfusion as a fair percentage of SANBS blood products are used by pregnant women, women in labour or who are post-partum, and, of course, we also supply blood products for use in babies and children.

    So, category A is the safest category of drugs to take. Category B medications are medications that are used routinely and safely during pregnancy. The C and D category drugs have shown positive evidence of human foetal risk but potential benefits of the drug may warrant use in pregnant women. Category X is never to be used in pregnancy. This is a classification based on the safety of a drug in pregnancy and lactation.

    Pregnancy Category

    FDA has not yet classified the drug into a specified pregnancy category.

    What Are The Medications That If Taken A Person Cant Donate Blood

    Generally, SANBS doesn’t accept donors who are using medication that is classified as teratogenic. These drugs would fall into category X. These medications are known to cause malformations in unborn babies, or miscarriages. These include a lot of dermatological agents, like Roaccutane, Neotigason and etretinate.

    Some anticonvulsant medication has been found to have teratogenic effects, such as valproic acid, phenytoin and phenobarbitone.

    Some antibiotics and male hormonal medications are also classed as teratogenic. The list of teratogenics is, of course, much longer than this. However, what is of note is that there are no hypoglycaemic agents listed as teratogenic.

    Your Diabetes Should Be Under Controlled Before You Donate Blood

    To donate blood with diabetes, your blood sugar needs to be in your target range. Your A1C should be less than 7%, as recommended by the American Diabetes Association. If your blood sugars and diabetes are not well controlled, you shouldn’t donate blood.

    It’s up to you to let the Red Cross know. If you are unsure about the condition of your diabetes, discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider. They will be able to help you decide if giving blood is a good idea, or if you should wait until your diabetes is better managed.

    Does Sanbs Encourage People Living With Diabetes To Donate Blood

    We encourage people living with diabetes to donate blood only if they are well enough to tolerate the procedures. At SANBS, the health of our donors is of very high importance. We do not collect blood from a donor if it would be detrimental to the health of the donor at all. This applies to our diabetic donors, even more so as they are at a slightly increased risk of developing infections and other complications.

    What Do I Need To Know Before I Donate Blood With Diabetes

    Can Diabetics donate blood?

    It’s good to know the Red Cross guidelines when you plan to donate blood with diabetes. The Red Cross will take blood donated from people with diabetes in the United States if the person has their diabetes under control. It doesn’t matter if you are on insulin, have Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, as long as you are well managed, and are in generally good health.

    Donation process

    The donation process is fairly easy, and you should be in and out within the hour.

    Screening for blood donation with diabetes

    The general age to donate blood is 16. Age does vary by state, so check with your local Red Cross blood banks for the age cut-off to donate blood in your state.

    Will your blood sugar or your A1C be tested before you give blood? No, they will not go to such extremes, therefore, it is your responsibility to be honest with the Red Cross when attempting to donate blood with diabetes.

    At the blood bank, a Red Cross representative will check your vital signs, including your temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and weight. They will check your blood to determine your Hemoglobin. This lets the Red Cross know if you are anemic, which means that you have a lower number of red blood cells than is considered normal. If you are anemic, you won’t be able to give blood until your red blood cells return to the normal number. You will have to treat your anemia before you consider donating blood.

    I recommend reading the following articles as well:

    What Else Can I Do To Help Manage My Blood Sugar Levels

    Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular physical activity can all help. Other tips include:

    • Keep track of your blood sugar levels to see what makes them go up or down.
    • Eat at regular times, and don’t skip meals.
    • Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.
    • Track your food, drink, and physical activity.
    • Drink water instead of juice or soda.
    • Limit alcoholic drinks.
    • For a sweet treat, choose fruit.
    • Control your food portions .

    Diabetic Diet: All About Making Calculated Food Choices

    There are different types of diabetes, determined mainly by your body’s ability to produce and use insulin—the hormone necessary for getting sugar out of your blood and into your cells where it is used to produce energy.

    The symptoms of all types of diabetes are similar, so the steps you need to take to control your blood sugar remain the same. Your diet plays a very critical role in managing your diabetes by keeping blood sugar levels stable throughout your lifetime. You are in control of what you eat, so this is one area you can and should learn to manage wisely.

    For people with type 2 diabetes, your pancreas produces plenty of insulin that is not sensed by the cells so your body is unable to properly use the insulin you make. Usually, type 2 diabetes can be controlled well with lifestyle changes—particularly shifting from processed carbs to high fiber foods, and walking daily—  as needed with the addition of medication.

    “Some people with type 2 diabetes may also need to begin taking insulin at some point,” says Sandra Arevalo, MPH, RD, CDE, a diabetes expert and spokesperson with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “It can depend on your age and your individual ability to control your blood sugar with diet and exercise.”  However, when type 2 diabetes is found early enough and weight loss is achieved, in most cases, insulin is never needed.

    Regardless Of Diabetes You Absolutely Cannot Donate If

    • You are sick with a cold, flu, infection, etc.
    • You have low iron levels
    • You’ve gotten a tattoo within the past year
    • You weigh less than 110 pounds
    • You are under 17 years old
    • You have ever used recreational intravenous drugs or steroids 
    • You’ve received a new piercing on your body within the past year
    • You have cancer
    • You’ve given birth within the last 6 weeks 
    • You’re being treated for postpartum medical issues
    • You’ve received a blood transfusion within 1 year
    • You’ve undergone surgery recently
    • You have HIV/Aids

    Strengths And Weaknesses In Relation To Other Studies

    Changes in HbA1c after whole blood donation have been studied previously. In 1985 Starkman et al. showed a decrease in HbA1c with a maximal reduction after 4 weeks following blood loss in a small group of non-diabetic volunteers . More recently, a large group of non-diabetic blood donors, who didn’t donate blood for at least 6 months, showed no significant reduction in HbA1c after whole blood donation. However, the time points used for HbA1c measurement were few and mostly short after whole blood donation . One study assessed the effect of blood-letting on HbA1c in patients with type 2 diabetes. Blood-letting consisted of three phlebotomies at a 2-week interval with measurement of HbA1c at 4 and 12 months after the blood-letting sequence. After 4 months a mean decrease of HbA1c of approximately 10% or 15% was observed . The strength of our study compared to the ones mentioned above is the inclusion of both non-diabetic blood donors and blood donors with type 2 diabetes. In addition we analyzed HbA1c each week for 8 weeks post donation, a time interval after which blood donors are eligible to donate again.

    Low Blood Sugar With Type 2 Diabetes: Is It Possible

    6/26/2015 by mySugr

    Can you have low blood sugar with type 2 diabetes? The answer is yes! People with type 2 diabetes who take certain types of medication are more at risk for lows . But don’t worry, if you know about the reasons, symptoms, and treatment, there’s no need to be afraid!

    Low Blood Sugar Risks With Insulin And Sulfonylureas

    There are different types of drugs used to manage diabetes. They are put into different classes depending on how they work.

    • Those who manage their blood sugar with diet and exercise don’t have to worry much. The risk of hypoglycemia is the same as non-diabetics.
    • Reassuringly, those who only take drugs that limit the amount of sugar released from the liver and slow down the absorption of carbohydrates in the intestines , also have a very low risk.
    • Those using insulinotropic agents , which stimulate or affect the production of insulin, need to be especially careful, as does anyone using insulin.
    • Shockingly, while insulin-dependent people with diabetes experience many more low blood sugars, it is the patient group using sulfonylureas who have more severe low blood sugars requiring emergency assistance. That may ultimately be because those using insulin understand the risks for lows and are often better prepared for them.

    Tips For Diabetics On How To Prepare To Give Blood

    In the days before your donation, strive to keep your sugar level within the normal range as determined by your medical care team. As with all blood donors, we recommend that you hydrate well the days before and after your donation and get plenty of sleep the night before. Find more pre-donation tips here. 

    Can People With Diabetes Give Blood/blood Products

    Can People with Diabetes Donate Blood?

    BHSc , MSc , APD, CDE

    Professional Services Manager, ADEA

    After attaining a Bachelor of Health Science at the University of Newcastle in 2002, Rachel spent 3 years working in Inpatient/Outpatient Service roles within various locations in New South Wales and Victoria within the public health system. This work experience provided Rachel with clear insight into the needs of patients with diabetes and a desire to develop a meaningful career in this field.

    In 2007, Rachel obtained a Graduate Certificate , as well as establishing a private dietetics and diabetes education consultation practice in Perth of which she was the Director until 2011.

    From 2011-2013 Rachel continued clinical work as a Diabetes Dietitian and Diabetes Educator for NSW Health. During this time, Rachel was also involved in national policy reviews and national guideline development for various projects relating to people with diabetes.

    In 2015 Rachel completed a Master of Science with a project to evaluate the ADEA mentoring program.

    As Professional Services Manager at ADEA, Rachel responds to all enquiries from members, health care professionals and the general public regarding professional matters. Her role includes liaising with stakeholders on various projects and programs to continually support ADEA members and to improve the health care of people with diabetes. Contact Rachel at

    person-centred care

    Eligibility Requirements For People With Diabetes

    In general, people with diabetes can donate blood, but your blood sugar levels, in particular, do matter.

    When you first arrive at the donation center, you’ll be taken through a screening process where honesty counts! There is no reason to lie during your screening process. Telling the truth about your blood sugar levels ensures that your blood has the potential to save lives.

    Preparing For Blood Donation If You Have Diabetes

    Before donating blood, you should try your best to:

    • Strive to keep blood sugars in a “normal” range the day before/of donating
    • Hydrate well by drinking plenty of water
    • Get plenty of sleep the night before
    • Do not perform intense exercise that same day, before or after donating
    • Be sure to have eaten a normal snack or meal 
    • Be sure not to consume too much caffeine
    • Be prepared to disclose any medications you are currently on
    • Do not smoke or drink alcohol the day before/of donating
    • Check your blood sugar frequently
    • Take insulin as directed
    • Avoid intense exercise for at least 24 hours
    • Rest immediately if you’re feeling dizzy
    • Rest if feeling lightheaded
    • Eat your normal snacks and meals

    Choose Carbohydrates That Keep Blood Sugar Steady

    Our wide variety of food products contain different levels and types of carbohydrates making it harder to eat wisely with diabetes. In general, you will want to choose carbs that have the least impact on your blood sugar. That means selecting foods that are high fiber, low sugar foods since these are absorbed more slowly and so have little impact on blood sugar changes.

    Best carb choices to promote a healthy lifestyle for people with diabetes:

    • High fiber foods include: Whole grain breads and cereals, and foods made with 100% whole wheat, oats, quinoa, brown rice, corn and cornmeal
    • Dried beans, lentils, and peas
    • Fresh fruits like berries, apples, pears, and oranges
    • Dairy products including yogurt, milk, and cheese. The best yogurt is Greek-style or strained yogurt since these contain triple the level of protein.
    • Vegetables. Both starchy and non-starchy vegetables are all healthy carbs that have less effect on your blood sugar

    As you might guess, sugar-sweetened cookies, cakes, doughnuts, and other baked goods made with white flour as well as candy and soft drinks that contain sugar and high fructose corn syrup have little nutritional value and are likely to send your blood sugar soaring, so should eat them only occasionally, if at all, and only in very small amounts. 

    Hypoglycemia Symptoms With Normal Glucose Levels

    There is such a thing as pseudo-hypoglycemia. This happens when glucose levels are continuously high for a long time then are suddenly brought down to normal. It’s as if the body becomes accustomed to the higher range, then panics when levels drop to normal, responding with hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.

    Info:Hypoglycemia is usually defined as blood glucose levels below 70 mg/dl . However, your doctor may give you a different blood glucose number that is considered too low for you.

    What You Need To Know About Eating With Diabetes

    How much do calories matter?  For people with diabetes, the exact number of calories to consume each day is based on the amount and timing of food that assures you can you’re your blood sugar levels stable and your weight within a healthy range. That number can change, depending on your age, activity level, frame size, current versus preferred weight, and other factors.

    “When the goal is a healthy weight and blood sugar control, a good starting point for a woman is 1,400-1,600 calories a day, with main meals containing up to 30 grams of fiber-rich carbohydrates, and snacks containing 10-20 grams of fiber-rich carbohydrates,” Ms. Zanini advises. “For men and more physically active women who are already at a healthy weight, you may start with a 2,000-2,200 calorie meal plan, in which you may increase proportionately your carbs.”

    Recent research suggests that by eating a big breakfast, and a modest lunch, so you get most of your calories in by 3 pm, you will find it easier to lose weight and achieve better blood sugar control.

    What Foods Should You Avoid With Type 1 Diabetes

    If you have type 1 diabetes, you should stay away from refined carbohydratesincluding white rice, chips, candy, and cake as well as fried foods, energy drinks, juice, and flavored milks. People with type 1 diabetes may need certain high-sugar foods if their blood sugar dips too low but, otherwise, these items will spike your blood sugar levels to unhealthy highs.

    Your best bets for beverages are water, milk, and non-sugar-sweetened beverages like diet soda or Crystal Light, which won’t raise your blood sugar as much as regular sodas or energy drinks.

    Stay away from vegetables with added sauces and choose fruits over fruit juice. As for dairy like milk and yogurt, low- and non-fat versions are the best, especially those without added sugar.

    RELATED: What Are Carbohydrates, and Are They Really That Bad?


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