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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve tried to make it a habit over the years to donate blood. I qualify to donate and it’s an easy way to help others. However, more often than not the examination triggers a subconscious white coat syndrome /“fight or flight” response, which results in a high heart rate. A couple times, I’ve been clocked with a BPM reading north of 150! The heart rate ceiling is 100 so most of the time t hey will just defer me for a day.

It’s frustrating since the workers I don’t think understand (once I was told to “go take a nap or something”). I’ve tried every trick in the book including meditation, deep breath, etc with no success.

Does anyone else run into this problem and can provide any tips to calm down? It’s not the fear of needles but the fear of being rejected, ironically.

Thanks,

Jesse
 

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When they take your blood pressure make sure to have both feet flat on the ground and breathe normally. I made the mistake of trying to deep breathe during the blood pressure test and my pulse was through the roof, you need to deep breathe like 15 minutes before and then just breathe normally and not think about it. It works for me anyway.
 

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I love to donate blood, too, but I always get rejected because my iron is too low.

A trick that might help you is one that my old therapist taught me when I was a kid is this: repeat your address and phone number in your head over and over again. It's information that you can focus on that's completely not emotionally charged. It has helped me come out of a lot of intense emotions before, and actually was pretty handy when I was in school. I could keep a straight face no matter what was going on around me, which got me some popularity at camp. Everyone wanted a chance to make me crack. haha

I hope you find a way to overcome this. Donating blood is a good thing to do. :)
 

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I have the same problem. Well, not with giving blood specifically, but any medical examination in general. Both yesterday and today I had doctors "stumped". They tell me to take deep breaths -- ha!

Yesterday, my doctor kept asking me if I had chills or heart palpitations.

At the hospital today, they wouldn't release me for two hours (after giving me a xanax) because my pulse was so high. Well, if you just rolled down a hill in a car and were suspended in the air by your seatbelt for ten minutes, I think you'd be pretty shaken up too!
 

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I gave blood. Probably one of the times I was most nervous but not about a social situation. Which is nothing compared to what I go through on a day to day basis, but i could still feel it
 

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That happens to me a lot when I'm in a medical setting. I once went to urgent care for some weird rash I had, and my heart rate was so high they insisted I have an EKG right there.

The first time I gave blood my pulse was too high, but the guy was really nice and retook it about twenty minutes later and it was better.
 

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Geese
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Argh it's like my worst fear (not related to SA or anything, just petrified of needles). Last time I had my blood taken I passed out haha. Since I'm originally from South Africa I can only donate plasma anyway but I just can't do it, take my hat off to those who do though.
 

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Ah, I tried once and had too high a heart rate too. It was mostly worrying about the blood-taker judging me. My temperature was high that day too. I left almost in tears, and I let it discourage me. Zombiekin's advice about repeating your address and telephone number to yourself seems promising though.
 

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I wasn't nervous about donating blood at all. I'll never do it again though, because my veins just aren't very good for drawing blood and they can't get enough blood from me anyways (or maybe the guy was just incompetent I don't know lol).
 

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I'm not sure if you already tried this, but I would say to think of things to keep your mind off of where you are. Like if you watched a tv show last night then think of that and focus on what the people were doing, what they were wearing, anything funny or serious that happened for example.

Oh, and I have to say that you are the closest person that I've seen on this site who lives near me, so that's kind of cool. I live a few miles outside of Omaha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'll try the phone number idea. Fortunately, I work within 5 minutes of one of the Red Cross locations so I guess I could try daily if I wanted.

It's either hit or miss with me if I get past the examination stage. The bloodmobile people tend to have more trouble with me it seems.

I've given just over a gallon. I should be at 6 or so right now with my age.
 

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Little Winged One
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This is interesting-I love to give blood(sounds odd I know)! The last 6 or 7 times I attempted - I was turned away-iron too low or pulse too high. I've been told caffiene before can really raise the pulse. Next time,I'm trying no caffiene about 8 hours before.
 

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I give blood too, and it makes me very anxious. I think it's just a fear of medical people who might do painful things...I'm not sure. It doesn't make a lot of sense because I know how much giving blood hurts - not very much at all! However, in the UK, no-one bothers about heart rate, I've never had it checked when I donate, just iron levels. I like zombiekins' idea, it sounds like a good one. Also, saying your times tables, either in you head or out loud, is meant to work too.

I wasn't nervous about donating blood at all. I'll never do it again though, because my veins just aren't very good for drawing blood and they can't get enough blood from me anyways (or maybe the guy was just incompetent I don't know lol).
My veins are a bit difficult too - I generally get bruised more often than not, and bruised too badly to donate one time in three. It doesn't bother me though. I suspect the guy was a bit incompetent!
 

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I don't know how to bring down heart rate (other than taking a beta blocker which will really work).

When my brother used to donate plasma he had the problem of being rejected sometimes for excessively low BP with the top number under 90. He'd pace around the waiting room and think about the Bush administration and that always managed to push his BP up to acceptable levels.

I couldn't give blood because I'm exceptionally afraid of needles. There is also the issue of how I hate the world and the idea of helping strangers (helping the world) while the world screws me endlessly simply doesn't appeal to me. If the world is going to give me the finger, I'll return the favor.
 
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