Protecting your health: facts versus fiction - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Protecting your health: facts versus fiction

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - We all know donating blood can save someone else's life.  Some studies suggest it could actually save yours, but not in the way you might think.  In last week's Drive for Life blood drive one donor said he gives blood every couple of months to limit his chance of having a stroke or heart attack. 

"A lot of this is not completely conclusive. It's not hard core evidence that we like to use in the medical community that we base medical decisions on," said Dr. Shane Speights.

Dr. Speights is talking about the connection some make between heart attacks, stroke and the iron in your blood

"There's a theory out there that lower iron stores in the body can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke," said Dr. Speights.

However, Dr. Speights said that is a theory supported by two reports done in 2000 and 2007.  A third study also released in 2007 works to disprove the notion that lowering iron does any good!  That's where it can get confusing for the public.

"Donating every two months because you think you're going to lower your risk of heart attack or stroke, there's not enough evidence out there to prove that," said Dr. Speights.

There is all sorts of information out there on television, in magazines and on-line that patients can get their hands on, but Dr. Speights warns you should always consult your doctor.

"Many, many times I have patients come in who are taking herbal supplements or over-the-counter dietary supplements thinking they are increasing their well being and health in actuality they're not," said Dr. Speights.

Dr. Speights said there is no clear answer on if donating blood is specifically significant to your chances of having a heart attack or stroke in the future.  He said more studies are needed.

"Donating blood is good for the population.  We are in a severe shortage we need blood the hospitals need blood," said Dr. Speights.

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