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It's a bummer. I tried to donate blood today but was foiled when the blood refused to flow out of my vein. This hadn't happened to me before. I was very well hydrated, having drank nearly a gallon (six 20oz containers) of tea/coffee & water today before trying to donate (not to mention eating 8lbs of water rich fruits & veggies this morning).

 

I think it was likely a result of my recent experimentation with intentional cold exposure (documented ad nauseum here), and being chilly (especially my hands) when I went to donate. I didn't feel unusually cold, but I think I've gotten used to it. My oral temperature was low (97.2 °F), but not terribly so. 

 

I know Michael has trouble even getting a drop of blood out for a glucose test. Anybody else have trouble bleeding?

 

--Dean

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Yeah, the one time I tried giving blood I was there trying to pump for 20 minutes — and this was pre-CR-induced-hypotension. I wouldn't even try today.

 

it's a PITA for me to get regular, venous blood tests too: I do jumping jacks when the phlebotomist is ready to actually pierce me, and have them use a butterfy needle, and it's still a slow and unreliable process.

 

As it happens, I've just been alerted to the cold effect myself. I recently went in for an annual blood test, and I just was not bleeding. The phlebotomist noticed that I was, as usual, cold to the touch, and she went and got a small disposable activatable gel hand-warmer, of the sort that is sold to pop into mitts on very cold days, and had me hold it gently. To my surprise, the warming of just my hand immediately got the blood flowing — not much faster than usual, but way faster than it had been doing. A good tip for the future, and possibly for other CR folk, especially if they're doing rats-with-cold-feet experiments.

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Thanks Michael,

 

Now that you mention it I remember a similar incident when I was visiting Luigi Fontana at WUSTL for testing as part of the human CR study. They were trying to draw blood and I was really cold. They ended up having to get a warming box that they had me stick my arm in. As best I can recall, it looked something like this "Heated-hand Box" (maybe exactly like this - since WUSTL is listed as one of their customers!):

 

heated_hand_box.jpg

 

The website has some very useful information about the bodies natural reaction of shutting down blood circulation to extremities in the cold, and the effectiveness of hand warming for getting blood.

 

I'll be sure to take a hand-warmer next time I try to give blood!

 

--Dean

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Yup, phlabotomists often remark on my very low pressure; I try to raise my blood pressure mentally while the needle is in my arm and we always make it through the blood draw albeit at a slow rate.

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I'm not eligible to donate blood because I weigh less than 110 lbs and my BP rarely goes above 80/50. But when I have blood drawn for tests I do the mental thing too, where I think Highly Stressful Thoughts to try to bring my pressure up. I have vividly visualized: IRS audits, flat tires on dark lonely roads, being locked inside an overflowing Porta-Potty, egregious wardrobe malfunctions while public speaking, etc.--but my BP never budges. All I end up with is a clenched jaw and tight bunched up trapezoids. Clinicians and machines are regularly alarmed by how low I run, not just BP but body temp, RHR, respiration, WBC count. I feel like there ought to be a prominent sticker on my chart that reassures, "She's not dead, she's probably pining for the fjords."

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