You thought knowing your blood type was something people do for fun. It may actually be a window into your health. From heart disease and strokes to certain types of cancer, here’s why your blood type matters.
Your blood type matters
Unless you’ve recently given blood, you may not think much about your blood type. The presence or absence of certain molecules called A or B antigens, as well as a protein called the Rh factor, determine which of the eight common blood types you have coursing through your veins. (Groups: A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+, AB-, O+ or O-.) However, these antigens make a difference beyond just your blood, influencing other body systems like your blood vessels, nerve cells, and blood platelets—which is why your blood type may impact your risk of certain diseases. Here’s why you should know what blood type you have.
Type A, B, AB: Heart disease
Non-O blood types have 25 to 30 percent higher levels of blood clotting proteins known as von Willebrand factor and factor VIII. In part, because of that difference, these folks also have a 15 per cent greater risk of dying from heart disease, reports 2015 research from BMC Medicine. Learn about the 9 things you need to know about heart attacks.
Type O: Lower risk of blood clots
Considering that type Os have lower quantities of the proteins that help blood coagulate, they’re also less likely to suffer from blood clots. (The downside is that blood clotting helps prevent excessive bleeding.) That said, there are many things that cause blood clots. “It shouldn’t be assumed that being an O blood type means an individual is ‘protected’ or an A blood type is at higher risk,” says American Society of Hematology Councillor Terry B. Gernsheimer, MD. Read more