Give Blood! Make a Difference AND Know Your Numbers

Giving blood

When I first gave blood I found out an added benefit. Not only do you help someone who needs it, you learn your blood pressure, hemoglobin and cholesterol stats as well. It’s a win-win for everyone!

I gave blood a couple days ago and compared my numbers to several months ago, prior to changing my diet. My stats weren’t bad to begin with as I’m fairly young, exercise regularly and tried to eat healthy already (at least I thought). I didn’t eat meat, but I did consume a lot of eggs and dairy: eggs several mornings a week with cheese, yogurt at lunch, cheese at dinner and ice cream several nights a week for dessert. I’ve only been trying to change my diet for about 3 months now, which certainly has been a process. Over that three month period I finished the dairy I had left in my refrigerator, went to Paris where I had several pastries that were definitely not vegan, still eat chocolate, and have been duped into eating various vegetarian (not vegan) food while I was learning the art of reading labels. Even so, I thought the information was interesting.

  • Blood pressure (average from both giving blood and having it taken at other places): Previously ranged from 110-115/70-75.  Currently ranges from 100-105/60-65. 
  • Hemoglobin of Hgb (if low you are anemic): Previously 12.8.  Currently 13.1. Healthy range for adult females is 12.0-15.5; adult males 13.5-17.5. This was interesting to me because I have often been asked if I’m getting enough iron by eating plants. I guess the answer is YES. I also like knowing this number to help confirm I’m getting enough B-12, which you do have to pay more attention to when not eating meat. Per the Mayo Clinic’s website, causes of anemia include the following, among others:
    • Iron deficiency
    • Vitamin B-12 deficiency
    • Folate deficiency
  • Total Cholesterol Level (mg/dl): Previously 148. Currently 124.  Both of these were taken very soon after eating dinner by the same lab. The healthy range can be viewed here

Taken together there are no significant changes but both my blood pressure and cholesterol level show a downward trend and my Hgb is holding steady. And I certainly can’t say I have the ideal plant-strong diet – yet. I like knowing my stats and encourage you to know yours!

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