Posted by: tinky | 2009/03/17

difficult giving blood

Dear Doc,

Please can you advise on something:

I am a 30 year old female (non smoker).

About a month ago I needed to take a few blood tests. It usually is difficult for the nurse to draw blood but this time she tried about 7 times without any luck. she even got another nurse to try as well. they confirmed that they were ' in'  the vein but there was just no blood being drawn. I was told to come back the next day and to drink 2L of water and have a full breakfast. Eventually the nurse just managed 2 tubes of blood.

When i tried to donate blood about 2 years ago it took over an hour for the bag to fill HALF WAY. The nurse joked back then that i was in no danger of bleeding to death at an accident scene.

i haven' t really worried about but after this last time I am concerned. i know my blood is very dark - much darker than most. i also know i have bad circulation: my hands and feet are always ice cold and i suffer with cellulite (even though i quite slim).

Is there any reason for concern? Is there something I can do to combat this (is it even necessary)? I guess my biggest cause for concern is the possibility of blood clotting etc?

Please advise.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberDoc

Dear Tinky
If they always put a stretchy band around your arm when they draw blood, ask them to use a blood pressure machine cuff next time and to pump it up between systolic and diastolic pressure - if the pressure is too high around the arm especially in someone who tends to have low BP it is difficult to get blood out, as the inflowing blood is blocked. You may also have narrow veins, so the negative suction pressure of the blood tube could be too high and the vein collapses - then it may help to draw blood with a needle and syringe instead of using a "bulldog" (the plastic thingy you put the tube in) and the tube.
Veinous blood is dark - so not to worry about this
Dr Bets

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