Aim: The aim of this pilot study was to compare the health status of Bavarian blood donors to the general population in Bavaria (Southern Germany).
Methods: Blood donors in Bavaria were evaluated with respect to socio-demographic characteristics, smoking status and selected diseases. The subset of blood donors from rural areas and aged 35-74 years (n=1 187), was compared to participants in the population-based survey KORA S4 living in rural areas near Augsburg (n=1 870). The comparison was based on logistic regression models adjusted for age and sex.
Results: Bavarian blood donors lived significantly more often in communities with less than 20 000 inhabitants (OR=4.73, KI: 3.69-6.13). They were more often born in Germany (OR=2.71, KI: 2.12-3.50) and had less university degrees (OR=0.60, KI: 0.44-0.81). Never smoking is more common in blood donors (OR=1.53, 95% KI: (1.30; 1.80)). The prevalence of asthma, myocardial infarction (HI) and cancer (men only) is significantly lower in blood donors compared to the general population both living in rural areas (OR (Asthma)=0.32, 95% KI: (0.20; 0.52); OR (HI)=0.17, 95% KI: (0.08; 0.34)). The initially significantly lower number of cancer cases in male blood donors disappeared after adjustment for smoking status and community size. No difference was detected for type 2 diabetes.
Conclusion: With the exception of type 2 dia-betes, the prevalence of the investigated diseases was lower in blood donors than in the general population. Differences can probably be explained by lifestyle factors as there might be a selection of healthier and more health-conscious blood donors. In the literature, a reduced risk of MI is discussed to be related to the frequency of blood donation. However, these questions need further research.
(c) Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart-New York.