If all you know about your blood type is its name the fact that it is red, you have a bit of learning to do. Your blood type isn’t just limited to a group, it is also an indicator of medical conditions that may affect you specifically because you have that blood group.
Strange but true, there is a correlation between blood type and disease risk.
Co-relation Between Blood Type And Disease Risk
Your blood is made up of various components and cells such as white and red blood cells that fight infection and carry oxygen, respectively. There are also platelets that help create a blood clot. Then there’s plasma cells that provide nutrients and are responsible for hormones as well as antibodies to fight infections.
Finally, there are other factors such as antigens that determine your blood type and your blood is categorised as A+, A-, B+, B-, O+, O-, AB+ or AB-.
When the antigens come in contact with bacteria, they trigger a response from your immune system. And based on your blood type, your body begins to either fight against these or gives in.
How Your Blood Type Determines Your Health
Let’s take a look at how your blood type and disease risk can play a role in your well-being.
When compared with the O group, participants with A or B type blood have higher odds of developing diabetes. According to a team of French researchers, women with blood type B positive appear to face a 35 percent greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than women with blood type O negative.
According to studies, if your blood type is A or AB, you are at higher risk of developing stomach cancer. Additionally, if you have A, B or AB blood types, you may have an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.
In fact, studies say that Type A blood has been found to have a higher risk of stomach cancer specifically, compared to those with other blood types. The ABO gene also plays a role in heightened cancer risk. This gene has been connected to other cancers, including lung, breast, colorectal, prostate, liver, and cervical cancers.
If your blood group is A, you may have more trouble handling stress. It is because you have heightened levels of stress hormones called cortisol in your body. Stress, when left unchecked, can lead to more serious health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Type A group also have quicker stress recovery rates than the type O group. The mantra to reduce stress in your daily life is to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Coronary heart disease
People with A or B blood type have a higher risk of a heart attack. | Image courtesy: iStock
Your blood type can actually put you at a higher risk of heart attack and heart diseases.
This is because of a gene called the ABO gene. This is present in people with A, B, or AB blood types. The only blood type that doesn’t have this gene is Type O. Thus, if you have a type O blood group, then you have the lowest risk for heart disease.
Researchers found that as compared to people with type O blood, those with types A or B had a combined 8 percent higher risk of heart attack and 10 percent increased risk of heart failure.
According to studies, if you have the ABO gene and you live in an area with high pollution levels, you may be at a greater risk of heart attack than those who don’t have the gene.
Thus those with types A, AB and B are at the greatest risk for coronary heart diseases. You will need a heart-healthy lifestyle to keep your heart safe and pumping.
The ABO gene is also connected with brain function and memory loss. According to studies, those with blood types A, B, and AB are up to 82 percent more likely to develop memory problems — that can lead to dementia —as compared to those with Type O.
This is because, people with these blood types have a higher chance of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. These conditions can cause cognitive impairment and dementia.
If you have the ABO gene in your blood type, you also have a higher risk of getting a stroke.
O Type blood group are protected against severe malaria. | Image courtesy: Pixabay
If you have a type O blood group, the chances of getting infected with malaria are less. The parasite that causes it, has a harder time attaching itself to type O blood cells.
As per research, people with blood type O are protected against severe malaria, while those with other types, such as A, often fall into a coma and it can lead to fatality.
But, if your type is O, you stand a chance of developing Peptic ulcers. These are painful open sores that crop up in the lining of your stomach or upper intestine.
In fact, people with O type have the highest risk of both gastric and duodenal ulcers.
According to research, people with type A, B, or AB blood are at a higher risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE). Compared to people with type O blood, individuals in the type A and B groups are 51 percent more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis and 47 percent more likely to develop a pulmonary embolism.
Deep vein thrombosis (clots usually occurring in the leg) and pulmonary embolism (when a clot travels to the lungs) are two of the most common vascular diseases.
But, having type A or B blood, however, lowers the risk of high blood pressure by 3 percent, as compared to those with type O blood.
Your blood type can also play a role in your pregnancy. Image courtesy: iStock
Surprisingly, your blood type can also play a role in your pregnancy. In one study, women with low numbers of healthy eggs were more likely to have type O blood than any other type.
The US study of 560 women undergoing fertility treatment found that those with type “O” blood had chemical signs linked to low egg numbers. However, there is more research required to substantiate the claims.
Given all this information, you’ll perhaps agree that knowing your blood type is a way to better understand and manage your health. Your blood type can’t be altered because it is a genetic gift. But, what you can change is making healthy choices to reduce the risks to your health.
Blood Type And Disease Risk: How To Stay Fit
In addition to a healthy lifestyle, ensure that you maintain a heart-healthy diet by incorporating immunity-boosting fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and nuts, in your diet.
Exercise daily, even if it is just for 20 minutes. Avoid smoking and try to get minimum eight hours of sleep daily. Limit your alcohol intake and try to reduce stress by adopting meditation and exercises such as yoga.
You should also go for regular check-ups and don’t ignore any of your health symptoms. Last, but not least, stay positive. A good mental attitude is all we need, especially during a crisis period like a pandemic.