- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Vampiric Blood Poisoning
What's the Controversy?
Vampires have taken over our lives. From TV, books, and to the silver screen, these nightmarish figures have become sexy, misunderstood, and popular. The stereotypes of these undead folk legends are quickly becoming mainstream. Several theories suggest that if you become a vampire, you'll be healthier, happier, and you'll live longer. Some believe that you'll become immune to blood diseases. There are even some theories that suggest that someone who drinks blood will never contract cancers or dementia.
Drinking blood is often considered a defining characteristic of the vampire subculture; however, not all aspiring vampires agree on the source of their sustenance. While some settle for the blood of an animal, others insist that human blood is the only form of nourishment that should be consumed. Besides the obvious concern of blood borne illnesses, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV, consuming human blood in large quantities is a toxic habit.
What Is Blood?
Blood keeps us alive when it courses through our veins and keeps our heart pumping, but drinking it is just like ingesting any other toxin: a little bit probably won’t cause harm, but too much can be life-threatening. It may seem like a simple question, but what exactly is blood? This red fluid circulates though our blood vessels. It actually fights infections and acts as the body’s transport system. Blood is generally separated into four categories: red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Hemoglobin, a protein molecule found in red blood cells, contains iron which is responsible for carrying oxygen from our lungs to the rest of the body.
-Red Blood Cells: Red blood cells are round with a flattish, indented center, like doughnuts without a hole. Hemoglobin is the protein inside red blood cells that carries oxygen. Red blood cells also remove carbon dioxide from your body, transporting it to the lungs for you to exhale. Red blood cells are made inside your bones, in the bone marrow. They typically live for about 120 days, and then they die.
-White Blood Cells: White blood cells, also called leukocytes, are essential for good health and protection against illness and disease. They flow through your bloodstream to battle viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders that threaten your health. When your body is in distress and a particular area is under attack, white blood cells rush in to help destroy the harmful substance and prevent illness. White blood cells are made inside the bone marrow and stored in your blood and lymphatic tissues. Bone marrow is constantly making them because of their 72 hour life span.
- Platelets: A platelet looks like a tiny plate. Platelets are tiny blood cells that help your body form clots to stop bleeding. They form a plug, or clot, to repair the damage. Platelets are made in your bone marrow along with your white and red blood cells. Once platelets are made and circulated into your bloodstream, they live for 8 to 10 days.
- Plasma: Plasma is the largest component of your blood, making up about 55% of its overall content. Blood plasma is a light yellow liquid, similar to the color of straw. Along with water, plasma carries salts and enzymes. The primary purpose of plasma is to transport nutrients, hormones, and proteins to the parts of the body that need it. Cells also deposit their waste products into the plasma. The plasma helps remove this waste from the body. Blood plasma moves all the elements of blood through the circulatory system.
Source: Berry, Judith, PhD, APRN and Levy, Adam S., MD https://www.urmc.rochester.edu
History of Bloodletting
Bloodletting was the practice of draining the blood until the infection or disease was cured. This practice started in Ancient Egypt. Doctors (or a healer) would open a vein with a lancet or sharpened piece of wood, causing blood to flow out and into a waiting bucket. If you got really lucky, leeches might perform the gruesome task in place of crude or infected instruments. The belief was that illnesses were a symptom of having too much blood.
In medieval Europe, bloodletting became the standard treatment for various conditions, from plague and smallpox to epilepsy and gout. Practitioners typically nicked veins or arteries in the forearm or neck, sometimes using a special tool featuring a fixed blade and known as a fleam. Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica bloodletting used stone implements to pierce their tongues, lips, genitals and other soft body parts, offering their blood in sacrifice to their gods. Blood loss also allowed individuals to enter trance-like states. They experienced visions of deities or their ancestors.
By the late 1800's, new treatments and technologies had largely edged out bloodletting. Studies by prominent physicians began to discredit the practice. Today it remains a conventional therapy for a very small number of conditions.
Blood Diseases and Anemias
Our bodies need blood to stay healthy. When we have too little, we pass out, too much blood and we'll get sick. Each component of blood can host a number of diseases and illnesses.
Illnesses of the red blood cells
Most people don't think about their red blood cells unless they have a disease that affects these cells. Problems with red blood cells can be caused by illnesses or a lack of iron or vitamins in your diet. Diseases of the red blood cells include many types of anemia, a condition in which there are too few red blood cells to carry sufficient oxygen throughout the body. People with anemia may have red blood cells that have an unusual shape or that look normal, larger than normal, or smaller than normal.
Symptoms of anemia include tiredness, irregular heartbeats, pale skin, feeling cold, and, in severe cases, heart failure. Children who don't have enough healthy red blood cells grow and develop more slowly than other children. These symptoms demonstrate how important red blood cells are to your daily life.
These are common types of anemia:
Iron-deficiency anemia. If you don't have enough iron in your body, your body won't be able to make enough red blood cells. Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common form of anemia. Among the causes of iron deficiency are a diet low in iron, a sudden loss of blood, a chronic loss of blood (such as from heavy menstrual periods), or the inability to absorb enough iron from food.
Sickle cell anemia. In this inherited disease, the red blood cells are shaped like half moons rather than the normal indented circles. This change in shape can make the cells "sticky" and unable to flow smoothly through blood vessels. This causes a blockage in blood flow. This blockage may cause acute or chronic pain and can also lead to infection or organ damage. Sickle cells die much more quickly than normal blood cells—in about 10 to 20 days instead of 120 days—causing a shortage of red blood cells.
Normocytic anemia. This type of anemia happens when your red blood cells are normal in shape and size, but you don't have enough of them to meet your body's needs. Diseases that cause this type of anemia are usually long-term conditions, like kidney disease, cancer, or rheumatoid arthritis.
Hemolytic anemia. This type of anemia happens when red blood cells are destroyed by an abnormal process in your body before their lifespan is over. As a result, your body doesn't have enough red blood cells to function, and your bone marrow cannot make enough to keep up with demand.
Illnesses of White Blood Cells
Your white blood cell count can be low for a number of reasons—when something is destroying the cells more quickly than the body can replenish them or when the bone marrow stops making enough white blood cells to keep you healthy. When your white blood cell count is low, you are extremely susceptible to any illness or infection, which can spiral into a serious health threat.
A number of diseases and conditions may influence white blood cell levels:
Weakened immune system. This is often caused by illnesses such as HIV/AIDS or by treatments related to cancer. Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy can destroy white blood cells and leave you vulnerable to infection.
Infection. A higher-than-normal white blood cell count usually indicates some type of infection—white blood cells are multiplying to destroy an enemy, such as bacteria or a virus.
Myelodysplastic syndrome. This condition causes abnormal production of blood cells. This includes white blood cells in the bone marrow.
Cancer of the blood. Cancers including leukemia and lymphoma can cause uncontrolled growth of an abnormal type of blood cell in the bone marrow.
Myeloproliferative disorder. This disorder refers to various conditions that trigger the excessive production of immature blood cells. This can result in an unhealthy balance of all types of blood cells in the bone marrow and too many or too few white blood cells in the blood.
Illnesses in the Platelets
Thrombocytopenia. In this condition, your bone marrow makes too few platelets, or your platelets are destroyed. If your platelet count gets too low, bleeding can occur under the skin as bruising, inside the body as internal bleeding, or outside the body through a cut that won't stop bleeding or from a nosebleed. Thrombocytopenia can be caused by many conditions, including several medicines, cancer, kidney disease, pregnancy, infections, and an abnormal immune system.
Thrombocythemia. In this condition, your bone marrow makes too many platelets. People with thrombocythemia may have platelet counts that exceed 1 million. Symptoms can include blood clots that form and block blood supply to the brain or the heart. The cause of thrombocythemia is unknown.
Thrombocytosis. This is another condition caused by too many platelets, but platelet counts do not get as high as in thrombocythemia. Thrombocytosis is more common and is not caused by abnormal bone marrow. Instead, the cause is another disease or condition in the body that stimulates the bone marrow to make more platelets. Causes include infection, inflammation, some types of cancer, and reactions to medicines. Symptoms are usually not serious, and the platelet count goes back to normal when the underlying condition gets better.
Platelet dysfunction. There are many rare diseases associated with poor platelet function, when the number of platelets is normal, but the platelets do not work normally.
Source: Berry, Judith, PhD, APRN and Levy, Adam S., MD https://www.urmc.rochester.edu
What Else Are You Up Against?
Human blood, if not treated, could open you up to STD’s. ANY infection in the host's raw blood will be passed on to you. Viral infections, bacteria, anemia, influenza, anything can lead to serious infections in you. Bleeding yourself for consumption weakens your own immune system and opens you up for a host of inabilities to heal. Coagulants can cause anemia, lethargy, vomiting. Long term consumption can lead to deficiencies later in life. Most “vampires” sustain a “blood” draw for ten years or less and die of cancers, influenza (flu), iron poisoning, seizure disorders, stroke, and heart attack.
Solutions for Vampires
Pig’s or Cow’s blood is regulated and tested for disease. It’s also cheap, and legal to own. Pig's blood is rich in riboflavin, vitamin C, protein, iron, phosphorus, calcium, niacin, and other minerals. Moreover, it is easy for body to digest and absorb. It also contains a certain amount of lecithin and can curb the harmful effects of low density cholesterol. A quick trip to the butcher, and you'll be swimming in blood. There still is a risk for consuming too much iron. Most doctors agree on one 4 oz glass of blood for every 72 hours.
If you're adamant about drinking your own blood, get your blood tested for disease, or deficiencies. Make sure that you keep testing every 3 months or after an illness. Make sure that whomever you share blood with has also been tested. Human blood is illegal to own, storing it is against the law. While there are those drinking blood every 24 hours and in large quantities, they are the exceptions and not the rule. Take care of your health and make sure that the blood you consume is untainted and safe.