When it comes to donating blood, we often think of donation at routine work or school blood drives as the only method of giving the “gift of life” through blood. This is a life-saving measure that is undisputedly needed on a regular basis.
However, there’s another type of blood donation that’s just as important. That donation is the gift of plasma. Unfortunately, this type of blood donation is much less common.
Consider these important statistics. Each year it takes 1,200 plasma donations to treat one hemophiliac. It takes more than 130 individual plasma donations to treat one patient with a primary immune deficiency.
These are just two of the reasons that healthcare professionals stress the importance of plasma as a key blood component of modern medicine. When it comes to saving lives, plasma is crucial.
According to DonatingPlasma.org, plasma is what remains after blood is stripped of red and white blood cells, platelets and other portions of the blood. It’s a clear or straw-colored liquid as opposed to the red color that we picture “whole blood” to be. It’s also obtained in a different way than whole blood.
Plasma isn’t just a small part of blood. In fact, experts say that it comprises 55 percent of our blood. Plasma itself contains mostly water and includes salts, enzymes, antibodies and various proteins.
The truth is that plasma donors fall into an elite category of cherished donors. That’s because most people don’t donate this needed element of blood. Instead, they donate whole blood during routine blood donations. Though this type of blood donation is always needed, plasma is, too.