Why you should know your blood type
What’s in a blood type? Potentially a lot, according to research, including a review of studies published in the Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Systems Biology and Medicine, that connects different blood groups to everything from risk of heart disease and dementia to urinary tract infections and the norovirus. While none of the studies are conclusive about cause and effect (they can’t say X blood type causes Y disease) and any increased risks are still pretty small, the research does highlight the importance of knowing your type – A, B, AB, or O – and how it could affect your wellbeing.
Blood clots: Type AB, A, and B increases risk
Danish researchers studied how blood type interacts with a genetic predisposition for deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), or blood clots in the lower legs that can travel to the lungs and become life-threatening. After analysing data on about 66,000 people over more than 30 years, they found that those with type AB, A, or B had a 40 per cent higher risk of DVT than people with type O, the most common type.
When the scientists did further analysis to see which factors have the biggest impact on DVT risk on a population level, they found that an AB blood type contributed to about 20 per cent of blood clots; genetic mutations accounted for 11 per cent, being overweight accounted for 16 per cent, and smoking accounted for six per cent.
Check out these sneaky causes of high blood pressure.
Heart disease: Type AB, B, and A all increase risk
People whose blood type is A, B, or AB have an increased risk of heart disease and shorter life spans than people who have type O blood, according to a large study published in BMC Medicine. After following more than 50,000 middle-age and elderly people for seven years, on average, researchers found that as many as nine per cent of cardiovascular deaths were attributed to having non-O blood types. However, as any doctor will tell you, lifestyle factors like weight, smoking and diet, which, unlike blood type, are modifiable, have a much greater impact on heart disease.