Wed, Oct 04, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Caffeine affecting blood donations

COME DOWN:About 14 percent of blood donations are rejected because of insufficient hemoglobin, which the foundation said could be linked to caffeine consumption

Staff writer, with CNA

Blood donations by young adults have decreased by about 40 percent over the past decade, mainly because of lifestyle changes and their habitual consumption of caffeinated beverages, the Taiwan Blood Services Foundation said on Sunday.

The foundation held an event to promote public health and raise awareness about how blood donations can help people.

Foundation director Hou Sheng-mou (侯勝茂) said Taiwan has the highest rate of blood donations in the world, but an aging population and low fertility rates have affected donations.

In 2014, 185,982 people aged 17 to 20 donated blood; a 39 percent decline from 2005, when 303,595 people in the same age group donated blood, foundation statistics showed.

A decade ago, that age group made up 20 percent of blood donors, but now the figure has fallen to 10 percent, foundation public relations director Li Lei (黎蕾) said.

Coffee and other caffeinated beverages affect the body’s iron absorption rate, which decreases hemoglobin in the blood, Li said, adding that low hemoglobin in young people could be the reason about 14 percent of donated blood is rejected.

Blood donated by men needs to have 130g of hemoglobin per liter and blood donated by women needs to have 120g per liter

To sustain a stable blood supply, the foundation in June 2015 launched a program asking 17-to-20-year-old donors to give blood 10 times within two years.

Only 338 people have completed the program.

Taipei Medical University medical science student Liu Hsin-ping (劉欣萍), 22, the top female donor in the program, has donated 250 units of blood. One unit of blood is about 525ml.

Liu said blood donation is part of her class schedule and that she takes care of her health to ensure her blood is not rejected when she donates.

Lu Yi-hua (呂逸華), 20, started donating blood when their grandfather was on dialysis.

Although he has since died, donating blood maintains the grandparent-grandchild bond, Lu said.

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