Can diabetics donate blood? Yes! If you’re not sure whether or not you’re eligible to give, this article will cover all the basics.
Diabetes is a chronic condition where your body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it produces in the way it should. Specifically, either:
- Your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, and so your body absorbs too much glucose from the blood.
- Or you have type 2 diabetes and your cells resist insulin, meaning that when you do produce some, your cells don’t react to it properly.
Type 1 diabetes is a ‘juvenile onset’ diabetes in which you do not produce insulin at all. If you have type 1, you need a long-term, intensive regime of insulin infusion to get your body’s machinery working properly again.
People with type 1 diabetes will almost certainly be unable to donate blood, and so cannot give blood for this reason.
The rapid onset of symptoms in type 2 diabetes makes it difficult for people with the condition to get tested and diagnosed quickly enough to give blood or be registered as donors.
Special arrangements are in place for people with type 2 diabetes to be registered, but your doctor may defer you from donation if you are not well-controlled or if you have not been diagnosed for many years.
The amount of glucose in the blood is tightly controlled by insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. When your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, blood glucose levels rise – this is what the term ‘hyperglycemia’ refers to.
The optimum level for blood glucose is between 4 and 7 mmol/l. Levels up to 11.1 mmol/l are acceptable in non-diabetic patients, but values above this should be managed more closely and may indicate a higher risk of complications like heart disease and stroke.
If you are still asking if Can diabetics donate blood, just know that if you have diabetes and your blood glucose levels are high (above 10 mmol/l), this will make you temporarily ineligible to donate blood; giving blood could pose a risk to the recipients of the blood.