Donating Blood and Diabetes

Although blood centers constantly need donations to keep their supply levels stable, a surprisingly low percentage of Americans give blood each year. Only 3% of eligible donors give blood each year, possibly because many eligible donors don’t know they meet the donation requirements. For example, people with diabetes are often unsure whether or not they can become blood donors. It’s easy to see why since diabetes is a disease that affects the blood. The good news is that even if you have diabetes, you may be eligible to give the gift of life!

Today, we will review when people with diabetes can donate blood and share some tips to make the donation process successful. 

Can people with diabetes give blood?

If you are in generally good health and your diabetes is well-managed – then yes, you can give blood! It doesn’t matter if you have Type 1 or Type 2; as long as the diabetes is under control, you are an eligible donor. Congratulations!

Although having diabetes doesn’t automatically disqualify a potential donor, it is still a good idea to check with your doctor before donating. It is crucial to ensure that your blood glucose level is within the target range set by your medical provider, as blood with too much sugar does not store well. 

If you have a doctor’s appointment in the days following your donation, it’s important to let your physician know that you’ve recently given blood. Some people with Type 1 diabetes report slightly elevated blood glucose levels 3-5 days after donating. Donating can also cause A1c or HbA1c levels to be falsely lowered. This is likely due to the temporary loss of blood volume and accelerated red blood cell turnover following a donation. 

It’s also worth noting that the type of medication you take to manage your diabetes won’t disqualify you from donating blood. Whether you take insulin injections or oral medications, you are still eligible to give blood as long as a qualified health professional prescribes the medicine and it helps keep your condition under control.

Blood donation tips for diabetics

Before making an appointment to donate blood, there are a few things to keep in mind so that your donation experience goes as smoothly as possible:

  • Check your blood glucose levels regularly in the days leading up to your appointment.
  • Drink extra water on the day of your donation to avoid dehydration and feeling unwell.
  • Follow a healthy diet that keeps your diabetes under control, especially if your doctor recommends it.
  • Get ready to become a lifesaver!

There are so many misconceptions about who can and cannot donate blood, and we want everyone who is eligible to know they can save up to three lives with each donation. Even if you were previously told that you weren’t eligible to donate blood due to diabetes, we encourage you to review our updated eligibility requirements. There’s a good chance that you can give the gift of life to someone who needs it.

If you’re thinking about giving blood, want to make an appointment, or are interested in hosting a blood drive, visit The Blood Connection website or contact us today. We would love to chat with you about the donation process and share how your selflessness can benefit your community!