Can Overweight People Donate Plasma? The Truth Revealed

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Plasma donations are a big deal. Last year alone, U.S. citizens donated more than 43 thousand units of blood plasma. Can you imagine what the number of annual donations is on a global level? It is incredible to think of all the caring people who donate and help save lives.

But can overweight people donate plasma too? Considering that the number of overweight people has rapidly grown over the years, it is interesting to look into their ability to donate blood, even after reaching a certain weight. We will talk more about this topic in today’s guide, so make sure to stick around!

What Is Blood Plasma Exactly?

Everyone knows what blood is! It is that red substance running through everyone’s body. 

Blood is divided into two parts, a liquid part that makes up 55% of blood and a solid part that makes up the rest. Blood plasma is the liquid part of the blood, whereas the solids are the white and red blood cells and the platelets.

Plasma is important because it helps transport the solids and nutrients our body needs to function well. It is responsible for keeping the blood moving, preventing blood clots and other illnesses connected to our immune system.

Many illnesses, infections, or severe medical conditions require plasma transfusions, so donations are always welcome. But there are some general requirements that potential donors have to consider before they start the plasma donation process. We will look at those requirements more closely in the following sections! 

What are the Requirements for Plasma Donations?

nurse at blood donation service with plasma donation

Potential plasma donors can go to a plasma center and talk to the medical personnel working there about donating. This type of donation is very similar to regular blood donations. When you donate plasma, you need to be hooked to a machine that takes all your blood, separates the plasma from it, and returns the rest of the blood to your body. 

The process might seem complicated, but you should let the machine and medical personnel worry about the logistics. The only worry you should have is whether or not you meet the requirements for plasma donations.

One of the most critical requirements is not to overdo it with donations. A healthy donor can donate plasma every 48 hours, but it is recommended to stick to two donations per week. After each donation, you should give your body at least two days to recover before you go for a second donation. 

Aside from that, there are no other limits regarding the number of translations you can do. But there are additional requirements you should follow. Here are some of them:

1. Age

Any healthy adult that is at least 18 years old can donate plasma. In some countries and the United States, it is legal for 16-year-old youngsters to be donors, but only if they have written consent from their parents. There is no other age limit besides that one. 

2. Health

The potential donor needs to be healthy when they donate plasma, so the donation is not compromised. When you go to a donation center, the first thing you need to do is undergo a complete physical exam as well as some additional tests.

The doctors will want to check if you have a regular heart rate or good blood pressure before they allow you to donate. If you have not been tested recently, you might also need to get tested for transmissible diseases.

3. Medical History

Another important thing is to be aware of your family history and know if any illnesses run in your family. You might want to rethink the donation if you are at risk for heart disease or any other disease. However, talk to a medical professional before making any decision.

4. Weight

Instead of an upper weight limit, it is more critical for plasma donors to consider the lower weight limits. A person has to be at least 110 lbs to be able to donate plasma. Anyone weighing below 110 lbs is not likely to be allowed to donate, except in unique cases. 

5. Body Modifications

Something you also must disclose to the personnel working at the blood clinic is any body modifications you have done in the past. A tattoo, body piercing, or other modification could make you a hepatitis B or C carrier. That means you would have to get tested before you proceed with the donation.

Usually, it is not recommended for people with body modifications in the last three months to donate. After those three months, you can talk to professionals and see if it is safe for you to donate.

6. Diet

A plasma donor needs to have a nutrient-rich diet instead of a diet based on fast and fatty foods. Even if you do not generally eat fatty foods but have some before a donation, it can affect the state of your plasma. So, make sure you eat more vegetables, fruits, and nutritious food and have a good meal before each donation.

Equally as important is to stay hydrated before and after the donation. That will help the blood circulate through your veins more efficiently and contribute to forming new, strong plasma that will replace the blood you donated. 

Can Overweight People Donate Plasma?

Finally, we can get to the crucial part of this guide – the ability of overweight or obese people to donate plasma!

Did you notice how we discussed a low weight limit for donors instead of a high limit in the previous section? That is because there is no high limit that can tell you whether a person can be a donor. Other factors will help you determine that.

For example, the devices or machines that separate the plasma from the blood have a weight limit. The beds that donors lay on during the donation have a weight limit. That limit is usually 400 lbs, but in some cases, donors can exceed that weight and still be able to donate.

The main problems that keep overweight people from donating plasma are a poor diet, poor vein access, inability to pass the physical examination, and so on. Overweight people are also more prone to heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc. All these things make them poor candidates for donation.

If you are overweight but want to donate plasma, it would be best to call a plasma center and talk to the employees about going in for an evaluation. Who knows, maybe you will be healthy and allowed to donate. A donation can bring you some extra spending money, so sometimes, it is worth giving it a shot!


Thank you for reading this guide on plasma donations and the general requirements. So, can overweight people donate plasma? Yes, of course!

If you have any unanswered questions on the topic, do not hesitate to mention them in the comment section below. Also, share your plasma donation experience with us if you have any. We cannot wait to read everything you share with us.

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