Woman who will go BLIND if there was not enough male blood available is urging more men to donate

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Jo Daniels, 39, a psychologist from Bristol, will go blind if there isn
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A mother who will go blind if there isn’t enough male blood available to treat her eye condition is urging more men to donate.

Jo Daniels, a psychologist from Bristol, depends on a special eye serum made of donated male blood to treat Sjögren’s syndrome.

Without the vital medication, the 39-year-old fears she won’t be able to see her young daughter grow up.

The auto-immune condition causes her eyes to dry up and leaves her with painful ulcers, which can lead to corneal damage.  

The serum can only be made with male blood because it is richer in plasma and platelets than female blood.   

Jo Daniels, 39, a psychologist from Bristol, will go blind if there isn’t enough male blood available to treat her eye condition. The mother-of-one is urging more men to donate

The number of men giving blood has plummeted in recent years, according to NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).

It has dropped by 24.8 per cent over the past five years in England, compared to a six per cent decline in women.

Mrs Daniels became reliant on the serum when her sight began to deteriorate at an alarming rate, BBC News reports. 

Her eyes were itchy for a while, before they became painful and here vision suddenly went blurry.

Over the course of four weeks, she went from seeing normally to being ‘completely in the dark’.

She said: ‘To make matters worse, it came on over the Christmas period, so I couldn’t get help very quickly.

‘I was worried I would lose my career and not be able to see my young daughter grow up.’

Sjögren’s syndrome affects parts of the body that produce fluids, such as tears and spit, making the mouth, eyes and skin very dry.

WHO CAN GIVE BLOOD IN THE UK?

Most people can give blood.

Donors have to be:

  • Fit and healthy
  • Weigh between 50kg (7st 12lbs) and 160kg (25st)
  • Aged 17-to-66 

Donors can be 70 if they have given blood before, or older if they have donated in the past two years. 

Men can donate every 12 weeks and women every 16 weeks.

Males can give more frequently due to them generally weighing more, which correlates to them having more iron. 

Giving blood removes iron from the body. 

This is an essential mineral that helps to give a person strength and energy.

A person may be unable to give blood if they:

  • Are undergoing medical or hospital treatment
  • Take certain medication
  • Have traveled to ‘restricted areas’ recently
  • Have a tattoo or piercing
  • Are pregnant or recently gave birth
  • Feel ill
  • Have cancer
  • Are receiving blood or an organ transplant

Source: NHS Blood and Transplant 

It causes symptoms such as burning eyes, a chalky feeling in the mouth and teeth cavities. 

Sjögren’s is one of the most prevalent auto-immune disorders, striking as many as four million Americans, charities say.

It affects approximately 0.6 per cent of adults in the UK. Nine in ten patients are women with a mean age of 50 years.

There are numerous treatments for the condition, including eye drops which are like artificial tears to help keep the eyes lubricated.

But standard treatments failed to help Mrs Daniels. Her eyes began to ulcer, causing damage to her vision, a rare and complication of the syndrome.

Ms Daniels became resigned to the fact she may never be able to see again.

A last ditch attempt using serum made from the plasma of male blood donors gave her hope. Her vision has returned somewhat after using them.

She said: ‘I can only see now because men donate blood that is used to extract serum that people like me put in their eyes hourly.

‘If enough men do not donate, then this treatment will no longer be available to me and I will begin to lose my sight again.’

Men are valuable donors for two reasons. Firstly, it is easier for men to give blood than women because they have higher iron levels, due to their additional body weight.

Men can give blood every 12 weeks, whereas women have to wait 16 weeks to protect their iron levels. 

Secondly, men’s blood is less likely to carry immune cells than women who have gone through pregnancy, meaning it is easier to match with recipients. 

Their platelet count is typically higher meaning their blood can be used for products needing plasma and platelets, often used to treat people with burns, cancer, those in accidents or people with dry eye conditions. 

But men are considerably less likely to donate blood than women, particularly those in the age group 17-34, figures show.

Around 172,600 blood donors were women aged 17-34-year olds in the year to October 2019 compared with 105,900 men the same age.

Mike Stredder, head of donor recruitment at NHSBT, said more than 68,000 extra men need to start donating blood this year.

He added: ‘Men’s blood can be used in extraordinary, lifesaving ways but we don’t have enough new male donors coming forward.

‘This is not about recruiting as many donors as possible – it is about getting the right gender mix.’



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A mother who will go blind if there isn’t enough male blood available to treat her eye condition is urging more men to donate.

Jo Daniels, a psychologist from Bristol, depends on a special eye serum made of donated male blood to treat Sjögren’s syndrome.

Without the vital medication, the 39-year-old fears she won’t be able to see her young daughter grow up.

The auto-immune condition causes her eyes to dry up and leaves her with painful ulcers, which can lead to corneal damage.  

The serum can only be made with male blood because it is richer in plasma and platelets than female blood.   

Jo Daniels, 39, a psychologist from Bristol, will go blind if there isn’t enough male blood available to treat her eye condition. The mother-of-one is urging more men to donate

The number of men giving blood has plummeted in recent years, according to NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).

It has dropped by 24.8 per cent over the past five years in England, compared to a six per cent decline in women.

Mrs Daniels became reliant on the serum when her sight began to deteriorate at an alarming rate, BBC News reports. 

Her eyes were itchy for a while, before they became painful and here vision suddenly went blurry.

Over the course of four weeks, she went from seeing normally to being ‘completely in the dark’.

She said: ‘To make matters worse, it came on over the Christmas period, so I couldn’t get help very quickly.

‘I was worried I would lose my career and not be able to see my young daughter grow up.’

Sjögren’s syndrome affects parts of the body that produce fluids, such as tears and spit, making the mouth, eyes and skin very dry.

WHO CAN GIVE BLOOD IN THE UK?

Most people can give blood.

Donors have to be:

  • Fit and healthy
  • Weigh between 50kg (7st 12lbs) and 160kg (25st)
  • Aged 17-to-66 

Donors can be 70 if they have given blood before, or older if they have donated in the past two years. 

Men can donate every 12 weeks and women every 16 weeks.

Males can give more frequently due to them generally weighing more, which correlates to them having more iron. 

Giving blood removes iron from the body. 

This is an essential mineral that helps to give a person strength and energy.

A person may be unable to give blood if they:

  • Are undergoing medical or hospital treatment
  • Take certain medication
  • Have traveled to ‘restricted areas’ recently
  • Have a tattoo or piercing
  • Are pregnant or recently gave birth
  • Feel ill
  • Have cancer
  • Are receiving blood or an organ transplant

Source: NHS Blood and Transplant 

It causes symptoms such as burning eyes, a chalky feeling in the mouth and teeth cavities. 

Sjögren’s is one of the most prevalent auto-immune disorders, striking as many as four million Americans, charities say.

It affects approximately 0.6 per cent of adults in the UK. Nine in ten patients are women with a mean age of 50 years.

There are numerous treatments for the condition, including eye drops which are like artificial tears to help keep the eyes lubricated.

But standard treatments failed to help Mrs Daniels. Her eyes began to ulcer, causing damage to her vision, a rare and complication of the syndrome.

Ms Daniels became resigned to the fact she may never be able to see again.

A last ditch attempt using serum made from the plasma of male blood donors gave her hope. Her vision has returned somewhat after using them.

She said: ‘I can only see now because men donate blood that is used to extract serum that people like me put in their eyes hourly.

‘If enough men do not donate, then this treatment will no longer be available to me and I will begin to lose my sight again.’

Men are valuable donors for two reasons. Firstly, it is easier for men to give blood than women because they have higher iron levels, due to their additional body weight.

Men can give blood every 12 weeks, whereas women have to wait 16 weeks to protect their iron levels. 

Secondly, men’s blood is less likely to carry immune cells than women who have gone through pregnancy, meaning it is easier to match with recipients. 

Their platelet count is typically higher meaning their blood can be used for products needing plasma and platelets, often used to treat people with burns, cancer, those in accidents or people with dry eye conditions. 

But men are considerably less likely to donate blood than women, particularly those in the age group 17-34, figures show.

Around 172,600 blood donors were women aged 17-34-year olds in the year to October 2019 compared with 105,900 men the same age.

Mike Stredder, head of donor recruitment at NHSBT, said more than 68,000 extra men need to start donating blood this year.

He added: ‘Men’s blood can be used in extraordinary, lifesaving ways but we don’t have enough new male donors coming forward.

‘This is not about recruiting as many donors as possible – it is about getting the right gender mix.’



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