Can People with Diabetes Give Blood?

People who are on insulin therapy are not allowed to give blood
People who are on insulin therapy are not allowed to give blood

When it comes to giving blood, there are a number of conditions that can make you ineligible.

Unfortunately, people with diabetes won't, in most cases, be eligible to give blood. At least, not in the UK.

This is because NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) maintain a policy of refusing blood donations from anybody who may be placed at risk by giving blood. In many cases, this includes people with diabetes.

Prediabetes and giving blood

People who have been diagnosed with prediabetes are eligible to give blood, as long as they haven't had any heart problems.

Insulin and blood donation

People who take insulin are not allowed to give blood, which excludes both people with type 1 diabetes and people with type 2 diabetes who are insulin-dependent.

The affect of blood donations on insulin levels is considered a risk to the donor's health. Because of this, people who are dependent on insulin are not permitted to give blood.

This applies to both regular insulin injections and insulin pump therapy.

Diabetes medication and giving blood

People who take diabetes medication can give blood, as long as their medication hasn't changed in the last four weeks.

Medication changes include changes in dosage, as well as the type of medication taken.

If your medication has changed recently, the effect on your blood glucose means that your health would be at risk should you give blood.

Diabetes, the heart, and giving blood

People with diabetes who have experienced heart problems are, in most cases, ineligible to give blood. This includes people who have:

  • Experienced faintness or giddiness as a result of heart problems
  • Experienced heart failure
  • Had surgery for blocked or narrowed arteries (including amputation)

Conditions for giving blood

There are a number of conditions that may prevent you from giving blood. Some of them, although not always directly caused by diabetes, can be related, such as:

  • Ulcers related to numbness (perhaps caused by diabetic neuropathy) or any other numbness-related heart condition
  • If you have had complicated dental work: over time, prolonged exposure to high blood glucose levels can damage the teeth, giving people with diabetes a heightened risk of needing complicated dental work such as a tooth extraction
  • If you have had a pancreatic tissue transplant, you will not be eligible to give blood

Giving blood and blood glucose levels

If you are eligible to give blood, your blood glucose levels do not have to be in a certain range.

Explore Giving Blood