Tags: bloodletting | donation

Modern ‘Bloodletting’ Boosts Health

Thursday, 31 May 2012 12:39 PM


The medieval practice of bloodletting – bleeding patients in the hope of boosting their health – is generally regarded as a barbaric medical practice rooted in ancient history. But surprising new research has found donating blood has real benefits for obese people – lowering their blood pressure and reducing heart-disease risks.
The study, published in the BioMed Central journal BMC Medicine, found just two sessions of “bloodletting” – that is, blood donation – were enough to boost the health of obese individuals with “metabolic syndrome.” Metabolic syndrome is diagnosed in people who are obese and have other conditions that raise their heart and diabetes risks, including insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia and high blood pressure.
Since accumulation of iron in the body is known to lead to hypertension and diabetes, researchers from Berlin and University Duisburg-Essen tested the benefits of taking blood from patients with metabolic syndrome. Study participants were divided into two groups, those who donated up to 800 milliliters of blood – 300 at the start of the study and between 250 and 500 four weeks later – and those who did not.
Six weeks after the study was completed – enough time for the donors’ bodies to replace the blood they’d lost – researchers found the patients who gave blood had a significant reduction in blood pressure, blood glucose levels and heart rate, and an improvement in cholesterol levels.
"Consecutive reduction in iron stores was able to improve markers of cardiovascular risk and glycemic control,” said lead researcher Andreas Michalsen from the Charité-University Medical Centre, Berlin. “Consequently blood donation may prevent not just diabetes but also cardiovascular disease for the obese. Obviously this treatment will not be suitable for people with anemia however for those eligible for treatment blood donation may prevent escalation of their condition."



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Blood donation offers real benefits for obese people by lowering blood pressure and heart-disease risks.
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Thursday, 31 May 2012 12:39 PM
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