Why are you not allowed to donate blood if your blood pressure is low?

My blood pressure is about 78/52 and the nurse said that I cannot donate blood because they would have to take me to the hospital and put it back in. Is that correct and if it is, does it mean that if I was injured and losing blood I would die more quickly than someone with normal bp?

Blood pressure is partly determined by your blood volume. If you suddenly remove a pint of blood without replacing the volume, it is normal for BP to go down (less blood in the same space = lower pressure)

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Your BP is low, but that is probably normal for you, and is just fine. Taking a pint out, though, would likely drop your BP to the point where you won’t adequately perfuse your vital organs. This can cause fainting, heart problems, kidney damage and other bad things.

If you were injured and had a major blood loss, you might see adverse effects more quickly. However, if you are young and otherwise healthy, your sympathetic nervous system would kick in big time and the adrenaline would probably keep your BP high enough to keep you going.

People who have high blood pressure are at risk if they lose a lot of blood because of something called autoregulation. Their organs are used to the higher pressures, and they are unable to tolerate pressures that would be normal for you.

18 comments to Why are you not allowed to donate blood if your blood pressure is low?

  • robert r

    You might faint.
    References :

  • c y n t h e t i q

    you'd pass out for sure if they drew a pint out of you, it could cause an even greater drop in blood pressure too which could cause your heart to stop.
    References :

  • stascia

    if you already have low blood pressure and you take blood out of your body, your blood pressure goes even lower. removing fluid from the body always lowers the blood pressure – imagine bleeding out of a large wound…blood pressure always goes down, this is why it is so important to stop bleeding as soon as possible because low blood pressure can stop the heart, and this is obviously a problem. so she is correct – with your low blood pressure you should not donate blood until it reaches a bit of a higher level.
    References :
    RN

  • curious cook

    Your blood pressure can drop further and you can faint.
    References :
    Personal experience

  • david_s_ca

    That`s right, you may faint…
    References :

  • r

    Your blood pressure will drop, you'll probably faint, and you run the risk of having your heart stop. Not worth it, is it?
    References :

  • KB

    With a low blood pressure, removing more blood fro your system would lower your blood pressure further. the Red Cross can not take the risk of you fainting during the process, so they can refuse to take your blood, for that, and many other reasons.

    You won't DIE quicker than other people because you have low blood pressure. Actually, an open wound might bleed out SLOWER on you than on someone with HIGHER blood pressure.

    They just can't take the risk of faintings during the process.
    References :
    I fainted when I gave blood at 17 and was told to never come back! They ALMOST didn't get enough blood out of me for it to be worthwhile, and if not, they would have wasted a lot of time (and juice and cookies) on me for no return.

  • Imaka

    When your blood pressure is low there may be inadequate blood flow to the brain, heart,and other organs. Most normal blood pressures fall in the range of 90/60 mm Hg to 130/80 mm Hg, but a significant change, even as little as 20 mm Hg, can cause problems for some people.

    Low pressure can be a symptom of all kinds of things, and you can give blood only if you can be shown to be healthy.

    I hope this helps.
    References :
    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003083.htm

    http://www.medicinenet.com/low_blood_pressure/article.htm

  • Pangolin

    Blood pressure is partly determined by your blood volume. If you suddenly remove a pint of blood without replacing the volume, it is normal for BP to go down (less blood in the same space = lower pressure)

    Your BP is low, but that is probably normal for you, and is just fine. Taking a pint out, though, would likely drop your BP to the point where you won't adequately perfuse your vital organs. This can cause fainting, heart problems, kidney damage and other bad things.

    If you were injured and had a major blood loss, you might see adverse effects more quickly. However, if you are young and otherwise healthy, your sympathetic nervous system would kick in big time and the adrenaline would probably keep your BP high enough to keep you going.

    People who have high blood pressure are at risk if they lose a lot of blood because of something called autoregulation. Their organs are used to the higher pressures, and they are unable to tolerate pressures that would be normal for you.
    References :
    I'm a doctor

  • 98al00an

    I have high BP and on BP down medicine. please, answer me exactly on my exact question- can I donate my blood for exact reason- to keep my BP down? How often can I do it?I’ll really thankful for it.

  • CL

    You might faint.<br><b>References : </b><br>

  • Laurinda

    I have Donated Blood various times already and never had a problem except my veins that usually hide away.Because I am O negative I find it important to donate.I went to the BloodBank Yesterday and the nurse said that my BP was a bit Low,but that I can still donate it wont be a problem.Big Mistake….I was fine afterward but on my way to the car I fainted,when I came to I was all drunk in the head and very nauseous.They had to take me back in a role-chair to lie down and get my BP normal again.Today my vision is till a bit blurry and I have the strangest headache…..All i know now Donating Blood with Low BP is not a good idea,even if the nurse said so.Rather be safe than sorry.

  • NlGHTgirl

    I feel euphoric when I sit up after donating blood! (This feeling lasts for hours!) A college educated friend explained that it was probably due to lack of oxygen to the brain!!! Yikes!~!
    I have extremely low blood pressure!!! I also tend to skip lunch. This is not the Red Cross’s advice!! And yeah, I feel some internal churning later? I did wonder if it was my kidneys or liver! The cat sat on me at night, to show his concern for my inner organs! (He does not usually do this!!!) Drinking TONS of water does help! (apparently, I get dehydrated during the 8hr sleep time?)

    I wonder if other people feel HIGH after donating blood???? The sugar & refreshments only intensify the euphoria!!!!!!!!!! Am I borderline diabetic? or something too? what would happen?

    • FT

      I am surfing the net to try and find out why I feel so absolutely great for many hours after donating blood.I havn’t donated in years and went yeasterday. The buss I had was amazing. hope its not the oxygen thing.

  • Stephen

    I am a “healthy male, at 43 years old. I hike long distances (like the entire PCT in 5 months). Today, I gave blood. My normal blood pressure apparently is around 110/72. Today it measured 98/62 probably because dropped the junk food in the last week, and starting to run 3 miles regularly. But after I gave blood I went to the rest room, and before I was done (#1), I started feeling a little nauseous. Automatically, I just put my feet up, and layed down in the rest room for a couple of minutes.

    After coming out to get my well earned snacks, I started feeling poorly, again, I told the poor volunteer that I was not feeling well. Put my legs up again, and she called the nurse over. I noticed a slightly blackening of my peripheral vision. I was able to take some juice, and start eating while on the floor. But they wanted me in a chair, so I stayed in a chair for another 20 minutes. Eating some snacks, and juice.

    I left after almost a 2 hour lunch time, and went back to work. My stomach felt a little off, and I noticed I had to breath a little harder. As time when on, the symptoms lessened. But what I learned is despite my health, I can’t really give blood, if , say I have blood pressure of less than 100. I know everybody is different. And you may not be able to catch yourself, Like I did.

    We decided after talking with the nurse, that I tried to hydrate to late before giving blood, and had I gotten more fluids in the previous day, I probably would have been ok.

    On a side note, 5 hours after giving blood, I measured 94/59. Probably had lower blood preasure right after giving, and that is why I went into shock.

    Hope someone finds this useful.

  • Trish

    Hi all, Sorry for reopening an old post, but i stumbled across this one and like Night girl- i always get a real buzz/energetic feeling for the day if i give blood. Just wondering if anyone knows why? Is it a release of stress hormones or something? I don’t skip meals and have normal blood pressure and blood sugar (I think) but a high pulse (resting approx 100 bpm- so it’s always dicey if I can give or not).
    Thanks :)

    >> NlGHTgirl:
    October 19, 2009 at 7:23 pm
    I feel euphoric when I sit up after donating blood! (This feeling lasts for hours!) A college educated friend explained that it was probably due to lack of oxygen to the brain!!! Yikes!~! I have extremely low blood pressure!!! I also tend to skip lunch. This is not the Red Cross’s advice!! And yeah, I feel some internal churning later? I did wonder if it was my kidneys or liver! The cat sat on me at night, to show his concern for my inner organs! (He does not usually do this!!!) Drinking TONS of water does help! (apparently, I get dehydrated during the 8hr sleep time?) I wonder if other people feel HIGH after donating blood???? The sugar & refreshments only intensify the euphoria!!!!!!!!!! Am I borderline diabetic? or something too? what would happen?

  • sheldon

    The great feeling that I have after giving blood is knowing that the simple ten minute process may save a human life. It is soooo worth the time!

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