Donating blood

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Donating blood

Postby philip » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:39 am

I seem to remember this discussed a while back but couldn't find the thread.. so anyway, I donated blood last Saturday. On Sunday I did a 150km ride, it wasn't a total bludge but we didn't go particularly hard either, except for one climb. I didn't really notice any difference on that ride except for on the climb when my heart rate seemed to go much faster much sooner than normal, so I eased up for that. On Tuesday I did my normal ~30km training ride, I push myself hard on this ride. I definitely noticed a difference on that ride, my heart felt like it was working a lot harder a lot sooner than normal, by the end of the ride I was not feeling good. Same ride this morning, felt quite a bit better but I don't think quite back to 100% yet.

Although this isn't scientific at all (I don't have an HRM or anything) this seems to correspond to what I've read about donating blood and exercise (there is on study done on cyclists in particular) - it affects maximal efforts for 7-10 days after donating blood as red blood cells are diminished for that period. Sub-maximal exercise does not seem to be affected noticeably. I had initially wanted to do just a plasma donation (as they give you back your red blood cells), but they don't let you unless you've done a full donation in the past 2 years and the last time I had donated was a bit over 2 years ago.
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by BNA » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:09 am

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Donating blood

Postby Comedian » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:09 am

Very interesting. What size/ weight are you?
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Donating blood

Postby philip » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:13 am

I'm 185cm, 75kg
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Donating blood

Postby Comedian » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:17 am

philip wrote:I'm 185cm, 75kg

Wow you are the same height as me (nearly) and 15kg less. :oops:

Do larger people have more blood? I think they take 600ml from everyone. I'm booked to give blood but I didn't know it was going to knock me around like this.
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Donating blood

Postby philip » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:43 am

The red cross take 470mL, the average adult has about 4.7L of blood, so they're taking 10%. From what I can tell, if you're bigger/smaller your blood volume will be larger/smaller. Unless you're racing or going to do massive efforts in the days after donating, I wouldn't worry about it too much, as I was fine on the 150km ride the next day when I wasn't doing big efforts. Maybe it can be used as a training tool :roll:
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Re: Donating blood

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:36 pm

Donating blood,while a great thing to do...it really is a bad idea for an endurance athlete who wants to be competitive...gives away all your hard work.
Although I never have that moral issue...as I lived in the UK during "mad cow" time no one ever wants my blood.
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Re: Donating blood

Postby Chanboy » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:43 pm

I usually find it's around day 3 when the affects of donating blood can be felt... Just a bit lethargic. You also seem to want to eat. A lot, and drink too. (non alcoholic!)
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Re: Donating blood

Postby philip » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:45 pm

toolonglegs wrote:gives away all your hard work

From what I have read, it's not really "giving away" your hard work since when your red blood cell count is back to normal you should be pretty much back to where you were before donating blood (~2 weeks). Is this not the case?
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Re: Donating blood

Postby fenn_paddler » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:55 pm

I've given blood in the morning then run at lunchtime and ridden home at the end of the day. This is definitely not what they recommend. My experience is that you feel degraded performance for up to a week and in fact any vigorous exercise on the day of donation makes you feel pretty average. However on the plus side you get to feel good for giving blood and get screened for a few diseases. Interestingly enough my weight dropped a bit too. And more than just the weight of the donated blood - perhaps the body has to burn up a few more calories generating replacment plasma etc.
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Re: Donating blood

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:02 pm

philip wrote:
toolonglegs wrote:gives away all your hard work

From what I have read, it's not really "giving away" your hard work since when your red blood cell count is back to normal you should be pretty much back to where you were before donating blood (~2 weeks). Is this not the case?

I don't know the finer details...but if what you say is the case then your losing a bit of fitness.If it takes two weeks for you blood levels to get back to normal then you aren't going as hard as you could for two weeks.I expect timing is all important if you have a big event on etc.I expect as long as you are not racing this weekend you will be fine.I can't talk...last time I gave blood...I then went and got blind :roll: ...worst hangover I ever had!.
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Re: Donating blood

Postby sogood » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:14 pm

toolonglegs wrote:Donating blood,while a great thing to do...it really is a bad idea for an endurance athlete who wants to be competitive...gives away all your hard work.

It indeed is a great thing, one that keeps our society going round and round. One day you may well be on the receiving end of a drop of red.

Otherwise as mentioned, the effect is temporary and it does not reverse any endurance built up in muscle/cardiorespiratory metabolism. It's purely a temporary deficit in red blood cells and oxygen carrying capacity.
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Re: Donating blood

Postby sogood » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:17 pm

toolonglegs wrote:I don't know the finer details...but if what you say is the case then your losing a bit of fitness.If it takes two weeks for you blood levels to get back to normal then you aren't going as hard as you could for two weeks.I expect timing is all important if you have a big event on etc.I expect as long as you are not racing this weekend you will be fine.I can't talk...last time I gave blood...I then went and got blind :roll: ...worst hangover I ever had!.

Hardness is not how you perceive but what the cells are subjected to and the oxygen deficient stress it receives. So once the red cells and oxygen carrying capacity is brought back to normal in days time, one may perform even better. :P
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Re: Donating blood

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:38 pm

Seems to a lot of opposing views out there.From what I understood blood volume returns to previous levels with in 48 hours....but red blood cells take up to 2 months.Surely if red blood cells levels affect performance then you wont be back to your previous levels all that quick?.
An article in Omega Cycling by Dr P A Lambeti (MBBcH), said, in part:

"A study has been done looking at the effects of blood donation on exercise performance in competitive cyclists. This study evaluated 10 male cyclists before and after phlebotomy (donating blood), to determine the effect of donation of one unit of blood on exercise performance. Each subject underwent maximal exercise testing with oxygen consumption measurement at baseline, 2 hours after phlebotomy, 2 days after phlebotomy, and 7 days after phlebotomy. The results found that maximal performance was decreased for at least one week and that submaximal performance was unaffected by blood donation.

Thus, if you are a competitive cyclist, do not donate blood within 7 – 10 days of a competitive race, as your performance will be compromised. If you are a casual cyclist performing submaximally, you may not experience any deleterious effects apart from a higher heart rate than normal from the day after donating."



Doing a maximal test 2 hours after blood donation :shock: .
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Re: Donating blood

Postby goneriding » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:46 pm

toolonglegs wrote:Although I never have that moral issue...as I lived in the UK during "mad cow" time no one ever wants my blood.


+1. I've also started falling down alot recently :)
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Re: Donating blood

Postby philip » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:43 pm

toolonglegs wrote:I expect timing is all important if you have a big event on etc.I expect as long as you are not racing this weekend you will be fine.

Yeah I don't have any races planned for a couple of weeks which is why I did it last weekend - also my girlfriend talked me into it. I used to donate regularly when I was at uni but haven't since.

toolonglegs wrote:I can't talk...last time I gave blood...I then went and got blind :roll: ...worst hangover I ever had!

haha doesn't surprise me

sogood wrote:Otherwise as mentioned, the effect is temporary and it does not reverse any endurance built up in muscle/cardiorespiratory metabolism. It's purely a temporary deficit in red blood cells and oxygen carrying capacity.

Would doing just a plasma donation therefore not have negative effect after a short time when the blood volume is back to normal?
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Re: Donating blood

Postby Sweeper59 » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:07 pm

My next donation will be my 40th. It's a family tradition that my father (185 donations!) encouraged. I generally ride in the morning, give blood the same evening, then have a rest day the following day - it seems to work for me. I once gave blood after work, then played soccer that evening - not a good idea. I had no energy, and felt unwell afterwards.
I'd encourage everyone who can to donate blood. It just takes a bit of planning to ensure it doesn't affect your training. I wouldn't recommend giving blood directly before a major event. :oops: :oops:
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Re: Donating blood

Postby flammer » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:22 pm

Giving blood is a great thing to do. Wish I could; like TLL, I lived in the UK at the wrong time and am on a 'do not touch' list. I wonder if the ban will ever be lifted? :x
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Re: Donating blood

Postby Mulger bill » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:40 pm

I'm up over 50 now and happy to do it. Like Sweeper, me Dad got me into it and I've got the kids doing it too.

I don't race so I dont care about negative effects, I just take it easy for the next couple days. I usually ride to and from the mobile but just amble along.
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Re: Donating blood

Postby foo on patrol » Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:12 pm

I can't give blood as I have hemochromatosis (makes my nose bleed just trying to spell it) and just found out our two kids have it to, last night! :(

Lucky so far I don't need blood taken, otherwise I would do it. Was advised against it when I was racing, but that line of thought may have changed since then. :?:
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Re: Donating blood

Postby sogood » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:56 pm

toolonglegs wrote:Seems to a lot of opposing views out there.From what I understood blood volume returns to previous levels with in 48 hours....but red blood cells take up to 2 months.Surely if red blood cells levels affect performance then you wont be back to your previous levels all that quick?

The satisfaction of knowing one's donated blood has helped to save a young child or a fellow cyclist who got struck down by a truck is far far greater than a $10 win at the local criterium.
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Re: Donating blood

Postby sogood » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:59 pm

philip wrote:Would doing just a plasma donation therefore not have negative effect after a short time when the blood volume is back to normal?

Plasma is just water and blood protein and others, without the cells. And "performance" is all about blood oxygen carrying capacity, which in turn is dependent on the haemoglobin contained with red cells. So your understanding is correct.
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Re: Donating blood

Postby ruscook » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:06 pm

I donate although I have a lay off for another 2 months due to a recent medical procedure. Worst thing - I missed donating for about 10yrs in my 30's/early 40's and they changed systems twice and didn't carry my records over. My history now shows about 6 donations instead of over 50!

Generally I ride to and from the blood bank.... They nearly didn't believe me when I donated last summer on the way home after riding 70km with another 15 or so to get home after donating... Obviously made sure I was very hydrated and rode easy-normal on the way home. No ill affects at all.
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Re: Donating blood

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:53 pm

sogood wrote:
toolonglegs wrote:Seems to a lot of opposing views out there.From what I understood blood volume returns to previous levels with in 48 hours....but red blood cells take up to 2 months.Surely if red blood cells levels affect performance then you wont be back to your previous levels all that quick?

The satisfaction of knowing one's donated blood has helped to save a young child or a fellow cyclist who got struck down by a truck is far far greater than a $10 win at the local criterium.

I totally agree...but as you can only donate every 2 or 3 months then it doesn't hurt to time your donations if you have something coming up you would like to do well in.
For me it is not an issue as I can't donate.
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Re: Donating blood

Postby rolandp » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:46 pm

I donate Plasma and Platelet every three weeks (ie Plasma week 1, platelet week 4 etc). The Red Cross always quiz me if I will be OK to ride home, which I generally do at a slower rate. I wouldn't recommend going out for a fast ride after giving blood (and even the questionary mentions something around these lines), but 22km+ ride home is not a issue for me.

They are always after new bleeders, so if you can give blood, see Red Cross Give Bloodfor more information. Around 70 odd donations for me, though this is an estimate as I've given in the UK and Australia (no Mad Cow for me - there in the 'safer' period).
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Re: Donating blood

Postby sogood » Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:18 am

ruscook wrote:I donate although I have a lay off for another 2 months due to a recent medical procedure. Worst thing - I missed donating for about 10yrs in my 30's/early 40's and they changed systems twice and didn't carry my records over. My history now shows about 6 donations instead of over 50!

Yes, that was an unfortunate move by the RC. Disappointed quite a few long time donors when for so long they've recognized frequent donors like airline FF programs. :mrgreen:
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