For Some People with Rare Diseases, Plasma Donations Are Life Saving

Giving source plasma can help people with rare diseases live fuller lives. On Rare Disease Day, learn more about how this donation works

According to the National Institutes of Health, one in 10 Americans lives with a rare disease, which is a disease affecting fewer than 200,000 people. Rare diseases are found across the medical spectrum—from conditions affecting the heart, blood, lungs, and kidneys to neurological and neuromuscular, metabolic, skin diseases, as well as bone and skeletal disorders.

Some of these rare diseases, such as Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating  Polyneuropathy, Kawasaki Disease, and others, can be treated with plasma-derived therapies. These therapies replace missing or deficient proteins that allow those affected to lead healthier and more productive lives.

Last year, I helped launch a campaign that raises awareness of the importance of giving plasma. Giving = Living highlights personal testimonials from people with rare diseases and encourages everyone who is eligible to give plasma regularly.

For people with rare diseases, plasma treatments offer hope.

Crystal was perfectly healthy until she became disabled with two neuromuscular autoimmune conditions over the course of six months. Plasma treatments helped her live a more normal life, after her rare disease impacted her ability to walk, take care of her children, and caused her to give up the work and physical activities she loved. Watch as she shares her story.

Alice needs 1,000 donors per month for infusions she receives every 28 days that help her live with fewer severe infections. Learn more about her story, including how she gives back at her local plasma donation center.

Giving plasma is rewarding, and the process is easy. If you are eligible to donate plasma, then I encourage you to make an appointment to give.

From check-in to recovery, giving plasma for the first time can take up to 2 hours. After that, it takes anywhere from 1 to 1 ½ hours. You must return to the same plasma center within six months to give again before your plasma can be used. Additionally, all plasma centers follow strict health and safety rules to make sure you are safe and comfortable.

Plasma regenerates quickly. With proper hydration, your blood volume returns to normal within 48 hours. Because of this, you can give plasma twice in any 7-day period, but no more than once in a 48-hour period. Repeat, committed visits are the best way to support our consistent and growing need for plasma, so donate often!

Want to learn more? Read answers to common questions, then make an appointment to donate today.

The more donors there are, the more lives we can save.

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