Sunday, March 29, 2015

What Is Blood Plasma Used For?

Plasma is part of your blood. It is easy for your body to replace as it is made up mostly of water and proteins. Plasma cannot be made in a lab. That is why it is so important for plasma donation centers to collect plasma.

Your plasma donation provides immunity from disease to individuals fighting these life threatening illnesses:

  • Cancer patients
  • transplant patients
  • premature infants
  • and those with autoimmune disease 

These are some examples of individuals who have lost their own natural immunity making abilities and rely on plasma donations for the life saving medications needed to survive capabilities as part of the disease process.

Plasma donation centers collect plasma for patients with certain diseases such as hemophilia and other inherited bleeding disorders. Hospitals also make products from plasma to treat traumatic injuries like shock and serious burns.

How Potential Donors are Screened

Plasma from  first-time donors is not used in the production of plasma therapies. Potential plasma donors must provide proper identification, including Social Security number and a valid address. Your personal data is verified through the national donor deferral registry database that tracks donor eligibility based on previous blood test results.

Donors undergo detailed screening process every time you donate. This includes a health history and a medical assessment. First-time donors are also required to have a comprehensive physical exam, which must be repeated annually if they continue to donate. All of these precautionary steps are closely tracked by the donor management computer system. If any of the screening criteria or not met that person is not allowed to donate that day.

The Plasma Collection Process

Plasma is collected from donor blood using a technique called plasmapheresis, which separates plasma from red blood cells. Plasma is extracted and the red blood cells are returned to the donor. Because our bodies replenish plasma quickly, donors are permitted to plasma twice in any Sunday.

To recognize their commitment donors are compensated for their time. Our trained staff closely monitors the entire process, which typically takes one and a half to two hours.

To further validate the quality and safety of the plasma, samples from every donation is tested in one of our state-of-the-art laboratories in our Indefinite plasma products are safer today than ever before. But they still carry a risk of transmitting infectious agents. Thanks to our highly regulated processes and cutting-edge technology, our standards for plasma quality and safety minimize this risk.

Our highly controlled webs perform a minimum of eight distinct tests on each donation. Any positive test results in the donors plasma being destroyed and the individuals permanently barred from donating again, at any Center nationwide.

The Plasma Manufacturing Process Explained

Once the plasma has cleared all testing procedures. It is held in a climate controlled warehouse of -30°F for a minimum of 60 days. This additional step allows time for any follow-up information about donor to reconsider before proceeding with the manufacturing process.

Plasma is turned into medicine in one of our first three high-tech production facilities in Barcelona, Spain, Los Angeles, California and Clayton, North Carolina. It is here where plasma is processed into a wide array of life-saving therapies.

The process of transforming plasma into medicine is highly controlled and regulated by the FDA and European health authorities.

First specific proteins are separated from the plasma using a multi-phased fractionation process different proteins.

Then it undergoes a series of purification steps using a combination of treatment solvents and filtration methods. Potential viruses are activated and eliminated, and the final medicine is currently sold in bottles which are laser etched with a unique lot number that also appears on the product label and packaging.

The entire process from plasma collection through manufacturing can take up to 12 months. We use a proprietary system called pedigree, which is an additional quality measure. Pedigree provides full traceability of the plasma used our products from the point of donation to the final product.

Our secure website healthcare providers worldwide can easily identify each individual plasma donation that contributed to a specific product world used to treat a patient. With innovative technology highly trained employees cutting edge research and development, a sharp focus on the quality and safety of our therapy for more than 70 years.

This has been our commitment and today our global team continues its dedication to meet the growing demand for plasma therapy and to honor the core values of the founders or defined our mission to improve the health and well-being of people around the world.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What Serious Health Complications Can Occur from Donating Plasma?

When donating plasma, you are taking many risks with your health. Collection center websites will not tell you that donating carries very serious complications and health risks, though the information can be found in the forms you must read and sign at each yearly physical exam.

Major risk #1: An anticoagulant solution is added to the blood products being returned to the donor. This usually causes an unusual taste in the mouth, but severe allergic reactions can occur as well.

Major risk #2:  Although rare, frequent long-term plasma donation can cause the protein level in the blood to be lowered permanently. This will cause a donor to be permanently deferred from donating plasma.

And major health risk #3: Another extremely rare complication is hemoglobin in the urine. According to one of the forms a person must sign, this happens if the red blood cells rupture when being returned to the donor. This usually clears up on its own within a week, and the form states it is not harmful to the plasma donor.

I Wound Up With Hemoglobic Urine, and a Permanent Deferral
Although I donated plasma very rarely, I experienced hemoglobin in the urine after donating plasma. After finding a large pink stain on the bathroom tissue several days in a row, I went to see my doctor. Testing discovered the presence of hemoglobin with no kidney problems detected. My doctor determined that plasmapheresis was the probable explanation.

Being the honest person that I am, and concerned about my health, I informed Biolife of the problem. It was time for my yearly exam anyway. Although I received a clean bill of health, along with additional documents provided to Biolife from my doctor, I was permanently deferred from donating plasma because of the hemoglobin in my urine.

The Biolife staff never did explain why an extremely rare occurrence would cause permanent deferral. I believe it's best, because I value my health, and wouldn't want it to happen again.

More common Side Effects of Plasma Donation

Although plasmapheresis is generally a safe process, one should be aware of the risks involved when donating plasma. The preceding were some risks to be aware of, and my personal (unpleasant) experience with donating plasma.

Besides the complications that could occur with any type of blood donation, there are specific health risks to donating plasma, though these are very rare. More common side effects would include bruising or infection around the puncture site where the needle was inserted.

If you are considering donating plasma, get all the information you can about plasmapheresis. Plasma donation is safe for the most part if you meet the eligibility guidelines and follow the health and nutrition tips given by the collection facility. Just be aware that although rare, there are risks of donating plasma.

What Health Conditions Disqualify You From Donating Plasma?

Donating plasma is a good way for college students, or anybody, to get quick cash. But do you qualify?

Here are some quick, general guidelines for who can donate: you must be at least age 18, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in  good general health.

The following medical conditions will also prevent you from donating:

  • AIDS
  • Babesiosis (a rare malaria-like parasite)
  • Colostomy
  • Dementia
  • Colitis
  • Gout
  • A diagnosed sickle cell trait
  • Mitral valve prolapse
  • Leprosy
  • Any strokes
  • Other kinds of diseases or conditions won't hinder successful plasma donation, but will only require a short period of deferment, such as:
  • Anemia
  • Allergies, if medication is being taken
  • Bronchitis
  • Chicken pox
  • Diahrrea
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Malaria
  • Pregnancy
  • Genital herpes
  • Medication can be a deterrent to plasma donation, but not always. It depends on the kind of medication being taken. These medications can cause problems:
  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Diabetic medications
  • Growth hormones
  • Thyroid medication

Medications that bar you from plasma donations include:

  • Allergy medicine
  • Birth control pills
  • Depression medication
  • Diet pills
  • Diuretics
  • Female hormone pills

What Other Health Conditions Will Disqualify Plasma Donation?

In general, illness, certain medications, foreign travel, and recent tattooing or body piercing are among factors that can bar you from plasma  donation.

Other categories that are permanently barred include people who've lived in certain parts of Europe since 1980, or people who've spent more than three days in prison in the last 12 months, or anyone who's been to certain African nations. Lastly, if you've had an "intimate encounter" with anyone who fits any of the above descriptions... that's it. You can't donate either.

Other Factors That Will Stop You From Donating Plasma

If you've had acupuncture, or any body piercings or tattoos, or electrolysis, say goodbye to donating for about a year. If you've been assaulted, you can't do plasma donation for a year. If you snort cocaine, don't plan on paying for it with plasma donation money, because you also can't donate for a year.

However, plasma donation is safe if you're menustrating, or a smoker.

Can I Donate With HIV or AIDS?

If you've ever tested positive for HIV, even once, forget plasma donation. You're barred forever. If you're a man, and you've ever had contact with another man, even once, you're not a good plasma donor.

If you've ever sold your "services" since 1977, you're out of luck. If you've ever shot drugs into your arm that weren't prescribed by a doctor, you simply can't donate plasma.

 Plasma Donation Is a Conditional Health Contract

What some people don't realize is that plasma donation is conditional...and those conditions can become a very long list of strict requirements. Not everyone makes a good blood plasma donor, and it's good to know if you fall into an exclusion category before you go.

While there's no way to write an exhaustive list of who can and can't donate, the following are a general guideline. If you think you might qualify, guidelines are different for every plasma collection company, and the doctor's questioning may unearth something that would either temporarily or permanently disqualify you from plasma donation.

Should I Lie on the Health Exam to Donate?

These qualifications are only a sampling, not a conclusive list. In order to determine conclusively if you can donate or not, you have to go to your local plasma donation center and go through the exams.

Be honest in your answers, and the doctor on staff will let you know if plasma donation is okay for you. Prospective donors get screened individually by a medical professional before they donate, but when you call to make an appointment ask about specific requirements and restrictions.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Can You Drink Beer Before Donating Plasma?

So, I got the idea for this post from one of my recent blog commenters, who said, "can I danken beer before plasma?" Uh.. sure you can, buddy. Good luck with that.

But it got me thinking - would one miller lite be so bad before plasma donation? How about a headstand keg?

But common sense says there are reasons to leave off the beer goggles before donating plasma:

  1. It dehydrates you. It's not the alcohol per se that dehydrates potential plasma donors - it's the ethanol. Ethanol in alcohol is a diuretic (increasing anti-diurectic blocking hormones in the body by up to 36%!), making you pee more often.  This make plasma donation slower, and makes you more likely to get a clot.
  2. It makes hangovers 1000% worse. Hangovers come from a lack of water in the body, and excess of leftover toxins. Donating plasma depletes you of water, so don't drink and donate. If you do, be prepared for the worst monster hangover of your life.
  3. Drinking restricts your blood vessels. Despite popular belief, drinking actually raises your blood pressure, restricting blood flow to the brain, heart, and nerves. It also restricts the blood flow needed for efficient plasma donation.
  4. It raises your blood pressure, which also slows down plasma donation. See #3.
  5. You could fall asleep. Are you a "sleepy" drunk? A recent study showed that about 25% of drinkers are. If you fall asleep when sloshed, don't drink before plasma donation. Falling asleep prevents hand squeezing movements that promote blood flow - so if you fall asleep, your blood could get trapped in the machine, resulting in a deferral.
  6. You could accidentally pull your needle out. Hey, it happens, and we're not all the most coordinated after consuming a few beers. And that plasma needle is held in by just a thin strip of tape. One wrong move, and you can pull the needle out, unleashing the hoover dam of blood and plasma. Plus, if your donation results in blood loss, you'll be deferred from donating plasma for 6 whole months.

Can I Drink Beer After Plasma Donation?

Before you go home and immediately crack open a cold one, let me leave you with this story from one of my readers:

"I don't understand why some people would donate their plasma if they drink alcohol. I have to share my story...I live near a military base and one of the assistants working for the center told me after the process don't drink any alcohol for at least 24 hours after the fact or I would be a cheap date (joking around), cause the alcohol does affect the body. ... 

 I stopped by a friends house after donating, she and her husband have donated in the past, but her husband had drank alcohol just before he donated, and as soon as he got his money bought some beer. Well this afternoon when I stopped by to say hi they both were drinking beer. They asked me if I wanted one and at first I said no, but I was hungry and this is when I usually like to drink is on an empty stomach. ... 

I cracked open that beer drank it, minutes later I felt like I wanted to throw up, I got a hot flash throughout my body and ran to the bathroom and flushed water all over my face and body. Feeling like I was going to DIE! I did throw up, and I immediately ate some cantelope and drank some water, minutes later ate a yogart. I was not sure if I was having a heart attack?? I was crying because I was so scared I thought I was going to have to call 911. Needless to say, the feelings went away moments later and I believe this was a result of the Alcohol. I learned my lesson and a scary one at that. Every person's body is different, even though this other person can drink alcohol, by body could not handle it. I just thank god I did not die cause it really scared the living poop out of me. "

So, there you have it: don't drink beer, wine, whisky, or any other alcohol for 24 hours before, and 24 hours after giving plasma and you'll be safe. And happy donating!
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