Thoughts on Better Aging

Giving Blood is Good for You—Especially if You Use Testosterone

June 6th, 2016

Giving blood can help prevent heart attacks by supporting healthy blood viscosity.

Medical research has proven that blood viscosity is a key risk marker for heart attacks and strokes. It has actually been shown to be a much more reliable predictor of heart disease than serum cholesterol levels. By giving blood regularly, you can lower your systolic blood viscosity by 20%, and reduce your risk of heart attack by up to 88%.

What Is Blood Viscosity?

Blood viscosity is a measure of how easy or difficult it is for blood to flow through your body. To illustrate the point, think of blood with low viscosity as being like red wine, and think of blood with high viscosity as being more like ketchup. As you can imagine, having blood the consistency of ketchup would be detrimental to your circulatory system.

What Factors Affect Blood Viscosity?

Red blood cells play a big role in determining how viscous your blood is. The greater the volume of red blood cells compared to the volume of whole blood, the higher blood viscosity will be. This ratio of red blood cells to whole blood is called “hematocrit”. For men, hematocrit should be between 45 to 52%. If hematocrit rises above this level due to overproduction of red blood cells, blood flow will be restricted.

Another factor that can affect the flow of blood is how old your red blood cells are. Younger cells are both more pliable and less “sticky” than older cells. This enables them to travel through smaller capillaries and prevents the formation of clumps that retard circulation. The more young cells you have in your blood, the lower the viscosity will be.

How Does Giving Blood Help?

Donating blood reduces blood viscosity in two ways. First, giving blood dilutes the blood you have circulating through your system, making it thinner and less viscous. Secondly, giving blood stimulates the production of new red blood cells. Again, younger cells promote lower blood viscosity due to their pliability and reduced tendency to clump.

Make Blood Donation a Key Part of Your Testosterone Treatment

For many men, doing testosterone replacement stimulates bone marrow to generate more red blood cells. If not properly managed, this can increase hematocrit. This is why at Renew Man™ we monitor hematocrit at regular intervals during testosterone treatment, and recommend blood donation if appropriate. This approach enables men to enjoy the benefits of testosterone replacement, while simultaneously protecting them from the detrimental effects of high blood viscosity.

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