Most of us don't spend too much time thinking about our blood type unless we are in our doctor's office, but our blood type is a component of our health worth looking at. There are a number of fascinating things your blood type says about you and you health, so it can be interesting to know your blood type and figure out how to work with what your genes have given you. Although there isn't much science supporting things like specific lifestyle choices for blood types, there are some studies that indicate how your blood type can predict your risk for certain diseases.
"Blood type, generally defined as the presence and combination of A, B and Rh D antigens presented on your red blood cells, matters because it determines which blood type you can receive during a blood transfusion," Chief Science Officer and co-founder of LifeVault Bio/GoodCell, Brad Hamilton tells Bustle. "If you receive the wrong blood type in a transfusion, your body can potentially reject the blood cells transfused with fatal consequences for the recipient. In addition to defining transfusion compatibility, blood types have also been associated with certain health risks."
Here are five fascinating things your blood type can tell you about your health, according to experts.
1. Heart Disease Risk
Your blood type may be able to predict how likely you are to have heart disease. "Data suggests that having type O blood lowers your risk for heart disease," Dr. Tania Elliott, allergist and Chief Medical Officer of EHE, tells Bustle. "Type AB is associated with a 23 percent higher incidence and type B with an 11 percent higher risk. Type A’s rate is five percent higher than O. The science behind this gap is not fully known, but other research links type AB with inflammation and type A with higher LDL cholesterol levels, both of which can elevate heart disease risk." Of course having a certain blood type doesn't predispose you to heart disease, but it is important to be mindful of these trends.
Women with type O blood are more likely to have fertility issues than women with other blood types. "Studies indicate that type O women are at double the risk of diminished ovarian reserve, meaning fewer eggs," says Elliott. "They also have lower success rates with in-vitro fertilization implantation." While having type O blood doesn't guarantee fertility issues, talk to your doctor if this is a possible concern for you.
3. Cancer Risk
Type O blood is also associated with a reduced risk of colorectal, stomach, and pancreatic cancers, compared to other types. "People with types A and AB blood are at the greatest risk for stomach cancer, possibly due to a heightened immune system reaction to H. pyloribacteria," says Elliott. Although blood type cannot definitively predict your risk for cancer, it is important to know the symptoms associated with stomach cancer, and speak to your doctor if any issues arise.
Parts of your cognition can also be determined by your blood type. "Type AB is more frequently linked to the development of memory issues and dementia," says Elliott. "According to one study, people with AB blood are 82 percent more likely to have cognitive impairment than people with other blood types. The correlation may have something to do with a blood-clotting protein usually found in higher levels in AB." Although it is important to remember that many other facts can contribute to memory issues or dementia outside of blood type.
5. Stroke Risk
If you have type AB blood, you also might be at a higher risk for stroke. "People with type AB blood have a higher risk of venous-blood clotting," says Elliott. "The type correlates with an increased concentration of von Willebrand factor in the blood, making someone more susceptible to clotting. This, in turn, makes AB blood patients more likely to suffer related issues like stroke and deep-vein thrombosis."
Though it is important to remember that having a certain blood type doesn't predict the certainty of any diseases, knowing your blood type can help shed some light on different aspects of your health.