None of us think much about our blood types unless there are plans for blood donation or there comes any unfortunate situation requiring a blood transfusion. Knowing your blood type is very important for any medical emergency.
Blood type is inherited from the parents and refers to specific antigens found in the surface of the blood cells.(1) There are eight blood types “A+”, “A-”, “B+”, “B-”, “O+”, “O”, “AB+”, or “AB-”.(1) Along with being useful in an emergency, knowing the blood type also offers some interesting insight into our health.
What Does Your Blood Type Indicate For Your Health?
Those with blood group “O” are at the lowest risk of heart disease. A study shows that people with non “O” blood group is associated with 9 percent increased chances of coronary events and a 9% increased risk of cardiovascular events.(2)
People with blood type “AB”, “A”, and “B” are at the greatest risk for cardiovascular disease.(3) It can be a result of a higher rate of inflammation in these blood types and certain proteins, which lead to blood clotting.
Heart attack and strokes happen due to clotting problem, i.e. if the clot blocks the blood flow to the brain. This results in a stroke. It is therefore important for the people with blood group type “A”, “B”, and “AB” to have a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Compared to blood type “A”, blood type “B” is at a reduced risk for all cancers(4), such as bladder cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, colorectal; cancer and stomach cancer. Blood type “A”, “B”, or “AB” is seen to have a higher risk of developing stomach cancer when compared with blood type “O”.
Blood type “AB” is associated with an increased risk of liver cancer.(4)
Another study states a genetic variation may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer in the people with “A”, “B”, or “AB” blood type.(5)
People with blood type “AB” are more likely to have difficulty in memory recall, language, and attention, when compared with other blood types. Also, people with “AB” blood types have a higher level of blood clotting protein, which increases the risk of stroke because of the clot blocking the flow to the brain.(6)
The “O” blood group plays a protective role against the age-related neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Blood group “O” is also associated with larger grey matter volume providing possible protection against dementia.(7)
Diabetes is a syndrome, which is characterized by hyperglycemia, which results from the defects of insulin secretion and increased cellular resistance to insulin.
A study conducted shows that blood group type “A” and “O” were negatively associated with diabetes, and the “B” blood group was distributed with the highest percentage among patients with diabetes mellitus type 2.(8)
People with blood group “O” have protection against the most dangerous form of malaria, because, Plasmodium falciparum resetting, a parasite virulence phenotype associated with severe malaria is reduced in blood group “O”.(9)
The parasite causes the red blood cells to clump in the capillaries, leading to severe tissue damage. Studies show that a specific protein is secreted by malaria parasite and it tends to bind more tightly to the red blood cells that are type “A” rather than type “O”.
People with blood group “A”, have higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone when compared with the blood group “O”.(10) While the stress recovery rates were seen higher in “A” blood type when compared with “O” blood type.
People with “A” blood type may find themselves getting anxious faster. Whereas the type “O” blood group may develop a problem due to the inability to clear the stress hormones from their system quickly.
For conditions, such as heart disease and cancer, the lifestyle and other factors matter more than the blood type. It is not necessary that you will surely suffer from a condition if you have a blood type which is at risk for it. It is always important to have a healthy lifestyle and habits to keep any unwanted illnesses away, regardless of your blood type.
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