As many wonderful ways, there are that we can be unique, we can add to that list one more: blood types. Eight distinct blood groups exist: O, A, B, and AB blood type, with each of these types appearing as positive or negative. Many people don’t know what blood type they have, but it can be important to learn this information, as it can make it easier to plan medical treatments and inspire you to donate blood to others.
Knowing your blood type can also help you learn the types of medical issues for which you may be most at risk. Understanding your blood type and disease risk can help you make lifestyle adjustments to avoid future medical complications – or can prompt you to become more informed about any symptoms to discuss with your doctor.
Here are some of the most important blood type and disease risk links to know:
Heart disease: If you have type O blood, count yourself lucky for your statistically lower risk of heart disease. All other blood types – A, B, and AB – are more likely to suffer a cardiac event or heart failure.
Blood disorders: Those with A or B blood types are more likely to develop blood clotting disorders such as deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. It is thought that these blood types contain proteins that trigger the formation of more blood clots. Conversely, those with type O blood may be more at risk for bleeding disorders and hemorrhaging.
Ulcers: People with A or O blood types are also at greater risk for inflammation and ulcers, as this is believed to be attributable to the fact that H. pylori infection, found in the stomach, is more common in people with these blood types.
Cancer: Both stomach cancer and pancreatic cancer have been linked to blood types in recent studies. If you have A, B or AB blood type, you may be at increased risk for pancreatic cancer, while those with A or AB blood are also at higher risk for stomach cancer.
Memory and cognitive impairment: Those with AB blood type may be at greater risk for memory problems as they age, according to a small study.
Stress: Despite the fact that everyone encounters stress, those with type A blood have higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. This can cause those with A blood type to have a more difficult time coping with stressors.
Fertility problems in women: Researchers don’t yet know why, but women with O blood tend to have more fertility issues, having fewer healthy eggs more often than women in other blood groups.
Depending on your blood type and disease risk you might face, it is important to talk to your primary care physician about strategies for staying healthy. This can include adopting a healthier lifestyle with more exercise and heart-healthy foods or having routine screening performed. Those experiencing difficulty coping with stress should also seek professional help when self-care strategies aren’t enough.
If you are like many people who don’t know their blood type, it’s easy to find out yours. The next time you have a blood test, you can request to know your blood type. You can also find out when you donate blood.
If you don’t know your blood type and come to Laredo Emergency Room for emergency treatment requiring a blood transfusion, don’t worry. In this event, we can quickly screen you for your blood type or provide universal donor blood. We know that blood type is the last thing you should have on your mind when seeking high-quality emergency care.
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