General / Weekend News

Your blood type may determine how you die

By Marion Ali, Assistant Editor

People with a non-O blood group have a slightly increased risk of heart attack and stroke, a recent study suggests.

The research conducted in The Netherlands shows that the reason for this could be because lower levels of a blood-clotting protein are present in people with type O blood, and higher in A, B and AB blood.  It found that people with the blood group, AB (the rarest kind), were the most vulnerable.  They have 23 percent more chances of suffering heart disease, and people with blood type A also have higher cholesterol levels.

This most recent research, presented at the European Society of Cardiology congress, studied 1.3 million people, and looked at coronary events in over 770,000 people with a non-O blood group.  It also looked at more than 510,000 people with an O blood group, and found that around 1.5 percent in the first group and 1.4 percent in the second experienced a heart attack or angina.

The study also looked at cardiovascular events in 708,000 people with non-O blood and 476,000 with O blood.  It concluded that some 2.5 percent of people in the first category suffered some type of heart dysfunction, compared to 2.3 percent of people in the second category.

Some 15 in every 1,000 persons with a non-O blood group suffered a heart attack, compared to 14 in 1,000 people with blood group O.

The researchers pointed out that while the increase in risk appeared small initially, the difference between the two is significantly greater where entire populations are concerned.

More research was needed to work out the cause of the increased cardiovascular risk in people with a non-O blood group, study author Tessa Kole, from the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, said.

“In future, blood group should be considered in risk assessment for cardiovascular prevention, together with cholesterol, age, sex and systolic blood pressure,” she emphasized, but added that other factors that can increase the risk of heart disease – including smoking, obesity, lack of exercise.  An unhealthy lifestyle, however, can be changed, unlike our blood group, she reminded.

An individual’s blood group is determined by genes inherited from the parents.

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