Teenagers who give blood are more likely to suffer from iron deficiency and anemia than adult donors and non-donor women.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have examined blood samples, as well as the blood donor history of 9,647 women who took part in the long-term "National Health and Nutrition Examinations Survey", which is used to evaluate adult health and nutrition status and children in the United States.
Within the group considered by the researchers there are 2,419 young women aged 16-19, the other participants aged between 20 and 49.
After publishing in the Transfusion magazine, the results show that almost 10.7% of young people have given blood in the previous 12 months, compared to 6.4% of adults .
The dosage of ferritin indirectly measures the amount of iron in the blood. The researchers found that average ferritin level was lower in blood donors than in donor donors, in adolescents and adults – 21.2 nanograms per milliliter (ng / ml) compared to 31, 4 ng / ml by 26.2 ng / ml against 43.7 ng / ml nanograms per milliliter, respectively.
Although the percentage of anemia cases is not very high among female donors (9.5% in adolescents and 7.9% in adults), researchers indicate that this figure is much higher than in non-female women. donors in both groups (6.1%).
In addition, 22.6% of adolescent donors and 18.3% of adult donors had low iron stores.
A blood donation can increase the risk of a deficit as each donation eliminates the donor from 200 to 250 milligrams of iron. Generally, young people have lower blood volumes than adults, and their proportional loss of hemoglobin, which contains iron and carry oxygen in the blood, is stronger, as their iron loses.
Researchers indicate that giving blood is a safe procedure and that regulations are already in place to prevent donors' iron deficiency (hemoglobin tests, the required pressures and at least eight weeks between donations). But the team adds that other measures should be put in place for adolescents, such as taking iron supplements, observing a longer period between two donations or the reconstruction of a simple gift of platelets or plasma).
"We do not say that people should avoid giving their blood, the reserves are already quite weak, but adopting new accreditation rules or standards could make this procedure safer for young people", Dr. Aaron Tobian, co-author of the article.