So who else needs every last drop of their blood?

I’m really sorry, Red Cross, but unless I put on some serious pounds in the next couple years, I won’t be able to donate blood like I know I should. I really can’t spare any.

I am convinced of this because the last two times my skinny ass (all 146 pounds of me) was at the doctor’s and required blood for testing, I damn near passed out. The last time, the nurse even broke out the smelling salts. Both times they had me lay there and drink flat soda for awhile. Heck, even several days after the fact, I noticed that alcohol (even just beer) had much more of an effect on me.

This seemed kinda weird to me, since I know the Red Cross cut-off limit for donors is much lower. And the Red Cross takes quite a bit more than the lab techs at the doctors do.

Anyone else out there share my predicament?

I really don’t think it has little, if anything, to do with your weight. In college I weighed 150 lbs, and I could give a full pint and I felt no effects. I rode my bike back from the Red Cross.

Now please don’t think I’m saying you’re being a wimp. Apparently, people react differently to having a certain amount of blood drawn. But unless they took an unusually large amount of blood for testing, I think part of the effect is psychological.

Oops. Please disregard that first “don’t.”

Maybe you’re anemic. I weigh about 100 lbs, and they can barely DRAW two tubes out of me. My body just doesn’t want to let go!

Happened to me before. I’m about 5’7" around 155lbs. The doctor only took out one syringe worth of blood and everything seemed fine. I head out of the room to the front desk to do the exiting paperwork stuff and I collapse right there at the desk. A minute or two later I was doing fine, but it was very strange indeed.

So I would say you’re not alone with whatever this phenomenon is.

I think I may be the one person who has the exact opposite problem. I may create too much blood.
At 5’7" and about 120, I give blood at least once a month.
If I don’t I get bloody noses.
I see it as a preemptive release.

This sounds very much like a vasovagal response. It can be brought on by a variety of things including extreme pain or anxiety, exhaustion, dehydration and some cardiac or thyroid problems. (I did this once in reaction to a high dose steroid prescription and literally felt like I was going to die, but I digress).

There is also what is called a vagal response caused by holding your breath and bearing down (imagine having a difficult bowel movement).

this is the result of stimulation of the vagal nerve and can cause dizziness and/or fainting.

If it only happens in response to a stressful situation, then probably the only thing required is to be aware of it and try to get your head down before you pass out. Alerting your lab personnel might be good too. If this happens when you change positions suddenly, it is more than likely you are dehydrated but it warrants getting checked out by your doctor just to make sure nothing serious is going on.

:fancy little RN cap off:
[sub] any advice I give is for reference only and not to be construed as medical advice or intended to take the place of your own doctor’s advice[/sub]

I’ve tried to give blood four times, and each time I’ve been rejected for having too high a heartbeat rate. The limit is 90 bpm, and I get so nervous around the needles that my heart rate soars to 130-140 bpm. I feel bad, because I’d really like to donate blood, but I’d probably need to be sedated before that could happen.

Given that I’m a diabetic, my blood can’t even keep me alive without the benefits of recombinant DNA, so I haven’t been able to give blood for years.

You may have low blood pressure or Neuromediated Syncope. That’s when your blood pressure drops unexpectedly.

I had this for years and didn’t know it. I have trouble even giving a blood sample for testing. The vial would fill partway, then stop. I would start to pass out, and whoever was taking the blood would panic.

The funny thing about it is, if you are diagnosed with this problem, part of the “cure” is eating lots of salt. While everyone else is worrying about too much sodium, I’m gobbling up olives and pickles.

If you only have trouble with this when you try to give a pint of blood, you probably don’t have to worry about it. But next time someone asks you to give blood you have a good answer for them.

Also, tell your doctor about it before you have a blood sample taken. Make sure you lie down before they start drawing blood, and that will help.

It’s not that I need every drop of my blood, but rather that I don’t need to have HOLES POKED INTO MY ARM!!! If they could take the blood with out using a needle (or a hunting knife) then they could have it.

little*bit - you may want to find out if you have polycythemia vera. This is caused when the bone marrow produces too many red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

It can cause nose bleeds. It can also cause more serious problems.

Luckily the treatment is simple - removing blood. The difference between just giving blood and having blood removed by a doctor is, the doctor checks your hematocrit level to know when blood needs to be removed, and when enough has been removed.

You can read more here:

I’ve got low blood pressure.

The only way I can give blood without passing out afterwards is to drink TONS of fluids and eat well for about 24 hours before donating. And even so, I feel wiped out the rest of the day. Weak, tired, can’t climb stairs, etc. No kidding.

My husband, who weighs at least 20 lbs less than me, has high blood pressure. He can give blood, pop off the table, and go about his day doing anything he wants with no ill effects.

Maybe it’s your blood pressure?

We’re dreadfully low on blood here so I really need to give. But it’s not something I can do on impulse, since I have to prepare for it.

I cannot donate blood. I have very rare blood, only shared by 11 females in my immediate family, and one female that we can’t quite figure out. When I bleed, I BLEED! Somone once fainted when they saw me having a nosebleed.

My blood is no good to anyone but the above 12 people. And anyone’s blood (excepting the aforementioned 12) will kill me.

I realized just recently that I probably can’t give blood for the rest of my life.
You know all those questions they ask you, like have you ever had sex with someone who has lived in Africa, etc? Just four years ago I could truthfully answer “no” to all of them. Now, I would have to yes to at least half.

I have the same problem, and alas, I’m well above the weight limit. My iron level is fine, I always eat a decent meal and drink lots of fluids before and after, but I ALWAYS get dizzy for a day or two after giving blood, and frequently come down with a cold or flu a day or two afterwards. (I don’t think it’s the vasovagal response; small amounts, as for lab tests, don’t bother me). I finally gave up on donating blood; I last did on 9/11, and spent the next 2 days horizontal on my couch and intermittently blacking out.

It may be partly blood pressure, if yours is low. Or it may be something else.

Psychological, OP.

I had a physical exam 10-15 years ago, had two vials of blood withdrawn. I watched it all the time. Felt fine. Walked out of the clinic, was waiting for the elevator. Felt faint, stumbled into the bathroom. The only thing that kept me from collapsing was grabbing the top of a stall and clinging to it with all my might.

Well, I figured that I have a psychological reaction to seeing my blood leave my body.

To counteract this, I volunteered at a blood center, saw blood being drained out of other people’s bodies, handled warm blood in bags, even.

Then, I tried to donate a pint … and I could! Desensitization worked for me! (I got my two-gallon pin late last year.)

But anyway, about 10 years ago, I got an MRI of my torso, because I was having lower back pain. While reviewing the images with my doc, I fainted right out. I guess I just couldn’t take seeing all my internal organs ‘n’ stuff up there on the screen!

Guess I still have a ways to go …

P.S. I’m 5’ 11’’, and 165 pounds (or at least that’s how much I weighed 10-15 years ago … :slight_smile: )

I have donated four gallons so far (32 pints). I have found that nearly all problems associated with blood donations can be attributed to low blood volume (dehydration).

My blood pressure tends to run low (110/70). I had problems with dizziness after donating until I learned to really push the fluid before and after donating. A half gallon or so of extra water before and again over the next day or so would not be too much. Also eat well and a little extra sodium wouldn’t hurt either

The body can cope with the lowered red blood cells and actually rebuilds those fairly slowly over the next several weeks. The lowered blood volume needs to be corrected more quickly and the body uses several mechanisms to compensate. Sometimes the supply doesn’t meet the demand like when changing positions quickly and that’s when you run into the dizziness a day or so after donating.

It is for this same reason that alcohol has a greater effect when you are volume depleted. There is less blood to go around so you get a higher blood alcohol level with less intake than normal. I personally have felt this. Donate in the afternoon and drink a beer that evening before I’ve had time to drink enough water and end up completely snonkered on one or two beers.

I’ve heard that it was common for soldiers to get shore leave, sell a pint of blood and get drunk very cheaply. It was called a “Vampire Liberty”.

So to sum up. Pass out after having 1 or 2 vials drawn, it’s probably vasovagal–esp if you are one of those who holds their breath the whole time you are being stuck. Pass out after a day or so, it’s probably dehydration.