Today, blood transfusions help millions of people worldwide, making blood banks, which depend on donors for their supply, more effective than ever.

Donating blood can save lives and is especially necessary for patients fighting a battle in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. However, not everyone is eligible to donate, so many diabetes patients wonder if they can be a donor. 

Patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who are insulin dependent cannot donate blood, according to the Official Mexican Standard NOM-253-SSA1-2012 , while patients with controlled type 2 diabetes can be donors. This measure also applies to Spain and Europe.

The exclusion of patients with type 1 diabetes for blood donation is controversial, as part of the medical community considers that it is out of date, due to its relationship with the unsafe use of needles than with the components of the patients’ blood, according to with the statements of Marisol Olarra, Diabetes Educator at BD Ultra Fine for the site For my well-being.

For this reason, in countries such as the  United States , Canada and Australia they do allow donation by patients with type 1 diabetes, as long as the disease is controlled, according to the Diabetestipo1 site.

When donating blood

When a person donates blood, they are given a routine questionnaire, in which they must indicate that they have diabetes. You should have a test to check your blood glucose levels, so it is recommended to take a certificate issued by your doctor that shows the treatment you are taking and that confirms your good health.

Some of the questions that first-time donors are asking are:

How long does the donation last?

The protocol lasts approximately half an hour, although in certain cases it may take a little longer.

Why can’t I donate if I weigh less than 50 kg?

The amount of blood that is drawn is 450 cc. per bag, which cannot be obtained from a person weighing less than 50 kg, according to Diario Femenino.

Should I go on an empty stomach?

The Spanish Red Cross recommends not to donate on a completely empty stomach, although a meal rich in fat should be avoided. Donating blood on an empty stomach can cause dizziness.

About three people who need a transfusion for illness, surgery or accident benefit from a blood donation, according to Gamaliel Benítez Arvizu, the director of the Blood Bank of the Siglo XXI National Medical Center.