Can't Donate Blood?

Q. I was told that I could not donate blood because my blood pressure was too low (80/60 that particular day). I am a 60-year-old male and have always been healthy. I eat right and exercise regularly. Usually, my blood pressure is about 100/70. Should I be concerned?

A. Do not be overly concerned. Adults have a normal range of systolic blood pressures of 80 to 139. If a healthy adult has a blood pressure on the low end of the normal range with no other associated symptoms such as faintness, shortness of breath, racing heart, or chest pain, this is perfectly normal. In fact, the lower your baseline blood pressure the less stress on your cardiovascular system. If a patient has an atypically low blood pressure for him and/or any of the above mentioned symptoms, he should consult a physician immediately.

If you had relaxed, consumed some fluids, and had your blood pressure re-taken, it probably would have been closer to your usual reading. Blood donation centers have strict criteria for blood donors in order to avoid complications.

Frank Chandler, M.D.

Erlanger East

1751 Gunbarrel Rd., STE 102

Chattanooga, TN