Facts About Your Blood Type
A blood type or blood group is a classification of your blood based on the absence or presence of antibodies and your inherited antigenic substances that live on the surface of your red blood cells (RBC). The inherited substances may be carbohydrates, proteins, glycolipids or glycoproteins, which depends on your blood group system. Your inherited blood type is a contribution from both parents. A total of 36 human blood group systems and 346 antigens are recognized by the International Society of Blood Transfusions (ISBT).
In 1900, Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian physician, was working at the Pathological-Anatomical Institute located at the University of Vienna when he discovered that blood sera from various people would clump together (agglutinate) when mixed in test tubes. This was the first discovery of any variation in blood types.
Blood Type Groups
The most important blood group systems are the ABO and the Rh. This grouping tells us if someone is (A, B, AB or O) and if you are either positive or negative. These factors are very important in blood transfusions.
Our red blood cells have a protein called the Rh factor on the surface of the red blood cell. If you have Rh positive blood it means you have the Rh protein. If you have Rh negative you simply do not have the protein.
I have O- (type O Rh negative blood), which makes me in the universal donor group, so it means I can donate my blood to anyone without any adverse effects for them. However, I can only receive O- blood if I need a transfusion.
The world population has four blood types, which are:
- O - O+ 37.4% of the population, O- is rare for 6.6% of the population
- A - A+ with 35.7% of the population, A- for 6.3% of the population
- B - B+ with 8.5% of the population, B- for 1.5% of the population
- AB- AB+ with 3.4% of the population, AB- for 0.6% of the population
To break the blood types down a little more clearly:
- O+ 1 in 3 people O- 1 in 15 people
- A+ 1 in 3 people A- 1 in 16 people
- B+ 1 in 12 people B- 1 in 67 people
- AB+ 1 in 29 people AB- 1 in 167 people
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Characteristics of Blood Types
Scientists do not know why there are particular characteristics associated with the different blood types.
The unique characteristics of type O blood include:
- People with type O blood have a lower risk of coronary heart disease. This may be due to a lower cholesterol level and a protein that is linked to blood clotting.
- People with type O are at a lower risk of getting Malaria, because if you get a mosquito bite the parasite has a tougher time in attaching to the blood cells.
- People with type O blood have a better chance of living longer since blood clots that are sometimes in the legs typically move to the lungs more often in those people with the other 3 types of blood.
- Women with type O blood tend to have less healthy eggs.
- Painful open sores in the lining of the stomach or intestines that cause peptic ulcers occur more frequently with type O blood.
- People with type O have a greater risk of death after experiencing a severe trauma.
The unique characteristics about type A, B and AB blood include:
- People with Type A blood tend to have a higher level of cortisol, which can make dealing with stress more difficult.
- Type 2 diabetes is more common in people with type A blood. Researchers have no explanation for this either.
- There are more risks with each of these blood types then there are with the O blood type. People with type A are at higher risk for stomach cancer. Researchers believe this might be due to H. pylori infection as it is more common with type A blood and this bacteria causes ulcers and inflammation.
- Memory problems are more common in people with type AB blood.
- People with type AB blood have a higher risk of a stroke. Researchers believe this is due to the fact that their blood clots more easily.
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It is good to know your blood type, especially in an emergency. If you need a blood transfusion you can always get an O negative transfusion. Knowing some of the possible health problems that are associated with your blood type is also smart.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Pamela Oglesby