Donating Blood - Should we or shouldn't we?
Can Lupus patients donate blood?
1) Before donating, discuss with your doctor to determine whether or not you (and your blood makeup) are good candidates for blood donation.
2) If you are too anemic (have a low red blood cell count), don't donate.
3) Each blood donation bank has its own guidelines. American Red Cross used to disqualify Lupus patients from giving blood, but according to Dr. Merrill, this is no longer an issue. However, based upon my research (and that of my doctor's), it seems that the ARC will, indeed, accept blood from a Lupus patient, provided that one's condition is "inactive" and that a patient is "feeling well." The trick? What is meant by "inactive" is a bit vague and not well defined.
The good news, though, is that if you meet the criteria mentioned above, the ARC will allow you to donate even if you are on Plaquenil and/or corticosteroids (prednisone). Note, however, that certain immunosuppresive medications (e.g. methotrexate or cellcept) or biologic agents will disqualify you from donating.
4) Since blood components are separated, the only components in a person's blood with Lupus that might be problematic are plasma and antibodies. Red blood cells and platelets should be safe to donate as long as the donor has sufficient amounts for themselves (see point #1 and 2). More good news: apparently, these parts are the ones most often needed by people who receive blood.
And many thanks to Dr. Neil Stahl for his help in uncovering the truth on this issue, and for providing much of the valuable information above. Other facts listed above courtesy of the Lupus Now article.
1)preserving blood supply for others who may need it, and 2)for your own peace of mind of knowing whose blood you are receiving. I personally had an experience when I became severely ill from Lupus and had to have an emergency transfusion in 1997. Even though I knew there were measures taken by the blood bank to ensure my safety, I still had some anxiety about it. Then in 2003 and 2004, I had hip replacement surgeries, and my doctor informed me that I could donate my own blood to be used if I needed it during the surgeries. I got through both surgeries without needing the blood I donated, but it was good to know it was there if I did. I will definitely do it again for future surgeries. If you want to self-donate, there are timelines and procedures you must follow. If you have any questions about Autologous donation, you can contact the American Red Cross.