Central Blood Bank eyes heart health

PITTSBURGH – Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports one in four deaths each year is caused by heart disease. February is American Heart Month.

While healthy lifestyle choices and properly managing health conditions can help prevent heart disease, Central Blood Bank said donating blood also supports these choices and health management strategies. Blood donors support life through their vital blood donations. Because there isn’t a blood substitute for patients, the need remains constant. As part of the rigorous screening process for donating blood, Central Blood Bank phlebotomists follow FDA-qualified questions and testing procedures to ensure the safety of the blood supply. During this screening process, staff routinely ask blood donors detailed questions about their current health and medications.

These questions, along with a blood pressure check and verification of hemoglobin, or iron, and non-fasting cholesterol levels, serve as a “mini-physical.”

“While this ‘mini-physical’ doesn’t replace going to a doctor’s office for a thorough examination, it can play a part in monitoring one’s own wellness,” says Dr. Darrell Triulzi, Chief Medical Officer of The Institute for Transfusion Medicine, the parent company of Central Blood Bank. Central Blood Bank Executive Michele Tysarczyk noted Central Blood Bank donors have access to an online account that is updated with medical information each time they donate blood.

“The recorded fluctuations can provide an early warning to a potential issue between yearly check-ups that donors can choose to share with their doctor,” said Tysarczyk.

When it comes to being healthy, the CDC and the American Heart Association agree on these three recommendations: 1) eat a healthy diet; 2) monitor blood pressure; and 3) have cholesterol checked.

To make an appointment or get more information, visit centralbloodbank.org, or call (866) DONORS-1.