Donating Blood With Diabetes

One thing I never thought about was the complications of donating blood with diabetes. At least I did not think about it until I recently donated blood and had an intense and scary situation when I finished donating blood. It was also a bit embarrassing when I look back on it, but that is something I have kind of moved past because it wasn’t my fault. I wondered if anyone else had this experience or, if you do donate blood, this could help you avoid the same situation I had.

My experience donating blood with diabetes

I donate blood multiple times a year, and this last time they were offering COVID-19 antibody tests with each donation, so I went to get the test just to see if I had them. Apparently, I did not. However, I had a much scarier result of giving blood. Everything started as normal. The phlebotomist started the IV and drew a few tubes of blood for the standard tests. Blood was filling the bag at a pretty good rate, but it always does for me. I was feeling fine until there was about a minute left before the bag was full.

The dizziness started

I started feeling a bit dizzy and like my vision was getting weird, like the objects on the wallpaper were moving a bit. I thought my mind was playing tricks on me, and it’s hard to gauge dizziness when sitting still and it is not severe. However, everything progressed pretty quickly after that, and I was feeling the need to stand up and move because my body felt like something was wrong. I asked the tech if mine was almost done which she answered yes. I shifted around in the chair feeling weirder and getting weaker with each passing moment.

I almost passed out

With the bag being almost full, I didn’t want to indicate anything was wrong because I wanted to make sure I donated the full amount so it wasn’t wasted. Looking back, that was probably not the smartest thing I could have done. Once the alarm went off indicating the bag was full, I immediately told the people working that I felt like I was going to pass out. Within seconds I had multiple fans blowing on me and someone ran and grabbed me a sugary beverage.

Low blood sugar is serious

It took a good few minutes of the fans and drinking the soda to finally feel like I was getting better. They told me I probably had low blood sugar from the blood being drawn out. I never thought of that happening but it makes sense, especially when I started to feel better soon after drinking the soda. I have never had an issue with low blood sugar, so I was unsure of how it really felt when you have it. You can read all you want about symptoms, but until you have it you don’t know, and it was scarier than I thought it would be.

Preparing for the next donation

I have decided I am still going to give blood. I will make sure to bring some orange juice or something else with sugar and sip on it right before and during the blood draw and see how it goes. I would hate to give up donating blood and think this will help me get through without complications. I wanted to share this story to help others avoid this possible complication.

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