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I have a friend of a friend who needs blood platelets. First, what's the difference between giving blood and giving blood platelets? What type of effect does this have on the body as far as recooperating? I seem to remember reading somewhere it can take a couple weeks or more for the body to fully recover. I have no problem with needles and I'm more than happy to give my blood if it helps somebody but I don't want it to effect my athletic performance. I have a century coming up this weekend and a triathlon the following weekend. How will giving blood or blood platelets affect my body in endurance events a week or two later?
 

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Platelets and Red Blood Cells

Platelets are specialized cells involved in clotting. They don't carry O2 to your brain and muscles like Red Blood Cells do. You will replace either after donating in a few weeks time. I don't think you will notice any ill effects from donating just platelets. I believe that when you donate platelets they separate out the platelets and return the rest of your plasma, red, and white blood cells. You should ask to be shure, but I think you'll be OK.

Donating whole blood or Red Blood cells will affect your performance for a while in my experience. You notice it mostly the first few days after donating. The blood volume returns within a day or so but you have to replace the Red Blood Cells before your capacity to carry O2 to your muscles returns to where it was before. I've been told it takes up to 6 weeks to restore all of the Red Blood Cells. The replacement occurs most rapidly at first so that you really don't notice the effects after the first week. The replacement slows down the closer the concentration gets to normal.

By the way, you are constantly replacing blood cells as they "wear out" or get damaged. The response to blood loss or Red Blood Cell removal is to stimulate the replacement process. EPO stimulates the response without the loss of cells which is why it can produce dangerously high hemocrit levels.

I believe that donating blood is the right thing to do for the community, but you should schedule it for a time that will allow you to have replaced all of your red blood cells before a priority race. ( I'd say 3-6 weeks to be sure)
 

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blood

platelets have a 9 day lifespan in the blood stream. to donate for your friend you would have to have platelets compatible with his. as mentioned, platelets help blood clot. if you cut yourself they help clog the hole. in contrast, red blood cells stay in bloodstream for 120 days. in other words, 1/120 of your red cells were placed in your blood stream today by your bone marrow. donating blood will lower your hematocrit for a few weeks or so. your exercise capacity is dependent on your hematocrit. donating platelets shouldn't effect your exercise ability and probably doesn't significantly drop your clotting abillity. since a platelets "lifespan" is only 9 days any donation dip in platelet count ought to be resolved in this time period. don't know if this helps. hope so. ;) s
 

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I have done it many times, go for it.

It takes a bit longer than whole blood... Can take the better part of 2hrs depending on the density of platelets you have that day. You mostly need to repalce your fluids. I have never felt any adverse effects post donating. But thats me and YMMV.

My local blood bank allows platelet donation as often as every two weeks as opposed to once every 8 weeks for whole blood. That should tell you something about recovery.

Methods (machines) differ in two v/s one needle machines.

Two needle machines: One draws the other returns, draw is larger than return. One hole in each arm.

Single needle: Newer, a bit more efficient(extraction wise). Draws for a bit then returns. leaves one hole.

I needed to cut back to every three weeks +/- a day or so so the entry point(s) could heal.

If it helps someone who needs it, I have been more than happy to donate. My body makes it anyway.
 

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This was covered in depth on Velonews tech questions a while ago...

Basically for recreational riding it doesn't matter, as you go up the racing ladder it gets more and more prudent to avoid giving blood and/or platelets during the season.

I forget the exact length of time but they said a top pro would have a measurable loss in performance for up to a month. But a Cat 4/5 wouldn't notice the difference after a week or something like that.

Ben
 
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