Health Risk Indicators By Blood Type
Could your blood type influence your health? While the medical community has long scoffed at the idea, a growing number of studies done over the last several years have indicated that there may, indeed, be an association between blood type and an individual’s risk of a number of diseases and health conditions. Here we’ll go over some of that evidence and what it indicates in terms of health risk by blood type.
Blood Type and Coronavirus risk
Research is ongoing to address the spread of COVID-19 and effects of the devastating global pandemic. Early studies suggested a relationship between blood type and susceptibility to the virus. Other studies have focused on blood type and the severity of COVID-19 symptoms, such as leading to intubation or death. Following is a summary of recent research regarding ABO blood grouping and COVID-19 risks.
- March 11, 2020 – J Zhao et al. evaluated the association between blood type and mortality in Wuhan. Evaluated 2,173 patients with COVID-19 from three hospitals in Wuhan and Shenzhen, China.
- Finding: Type A blood group associated with a higher risk for acquiring COVID-19 and Type O blood group associated with a lower risk.
- April 8, 2020 – Zietz and Tatonetti tested association between blood type and COVID-19 infection, intubation, and death. Evaluated 7,770 SARS-CoV-2 patients at New York Presbyterian (NYP) hospital.
- Finding: Evidence found of association with ABO blood groups and a beneficial association between Rh-negative blood groups and both infection status and death.
- June 17, 2020 – D Ellinghaus et al., Genomewide Association Study of Severe Covid-19 with Respiratory Failure. Evaluated 1,980 patients with Covid-19 and respiratory failure at seven hospitals in Italy / Spain compared to 2,300 people who were not sick.
- Finding: Identified a genetic susceptibility locus in patients and confirmed a potential involvement of the ABO blood-group system. Specifically, people with Type A blood had a 45% higher risk of infection and people with Type O blood were only 65% as likely to become sick as people with other blood types.
- July 12, 2020 – C Latz et al. at Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital. Evaluated 7,648 adult COVID-19 patients in five hospitals from March 6 to April 16, 2020.
- Finding: No association between ABO blood type and COVID-19 disease severity or higher peak levels of inflammation. Patients with blood types B and AB were more likely to test positive as were those who are Rh+ positive, and blood type O was less likely to test positive.
The relationship between blood groups and Covid-19 is not yet understood. What is likely is a correlation between blood clotting and severity of the disease. Further, people with type O blood type are less prone to coagulation and clotting problems. They are also less susceptible to severe malaria which may be related to use of anti-malarial medications in treating COVID-19.
Research on blood types and COVID-19 is progressing and should help in the development of vaccines and effective drug treatments for COVID-19.
Blood Type and Cardiovascular Disease
A body of research has indicated an association between blood type and risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD). Among the most significant research to show this association was a pair of prospective cohort studies led by Dr. Meian He from the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the September, 2012 issue of the journal “Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.” In their analysis, researchers identified blood type as a significant risk factor for the development of CHD, stating that individuals with type A, B, or AB had a respective 5, 11 and 23 percent higher risk of developing CHD than those with type O blood. Furthermore, these associations were not altered by adjustment for a wide variety of other known dietary and risk factors.
Blood Type and Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Risk
According to a number of studies, those with type O blood may also have an advantage in terms of venous thromboembolism risk. A disease that includes deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, VTE is characterized by the formation of blood clots within blood vessels and is often fatal. According to an article published in the journal “Blood Transfusion,” studies have shown that individuals with blood types A, B, and AB can have an increased risk of VTE of as much as 2.2 times that of type O individuals.
Cancer Risk and Blood Type
According to that same article in “Blood Transfusion,” a body of scientific literature has indicated a relationship between blood type and certain forms of cancer. Gastric, or stomach, cancer is among them, with some studies showing a 20 percent greater risk for its development in type A individuals as compared to people with type O blood. A correlation between pancreatic cancer and blood type has also been established, with type A, B, and AB individuals at greater risk than type Os. Women with type O blood are less likely to develop ovarian cancer than all other blood types, but may be more likely to develop renal cancer. Skin cancer risk also varies according to blood type, with type Os having a substantially higher risk of developing the disease than A, B, and AB individuals.
Dementia Risk Differs By Blood Type
People with type AB blood face a much higher risk of developing thinking and memory problems that lead to dementia than all other blood types. Chances of this type of cognitive impairment in AB individuals are 82 percent higher than in type A, B and O individuals, according to the results of a September, 2014 study published in the journal “Neurology.”
Other Health Risks By Blood Type
Evidence shows that Type O individuals may be more likely to develop peptic ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori bacterium than other blood types, and that type O women may have more risk of fertility problems, with greater risk of having lower egg count and poorer egg quality than women who are type A, B or AB. Type O people have also been shown to be more susceptible to cholera and norovirus, a serious, sometimes lethal virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea, and type O men may be more prone to obesity than men of other blood types. On the other hand, type Os are less susceptible to severe malaria than all other blood types.
While just how blood type influences certain diseases and health conditions remains unclear in many instances, emerging evidence leaves little doubt that your blood type does matter in terms of health risks. However, it’s important to realize that an increased risk of certain health conditions does not indicate that you will certainly develop them. For instance, if you have risk factors that double your chances of a disease that the average person has a one percent chance of developing, your risk is still just two percent.
That said, any increased risk of serious health conditions is something to be aware of for the sake of prevention and/or early detection and treatment, so knowing the issues associated with your blood type is wise. Of course, that means knowing your blood type, and nearly half of Americans don’t. Fortunately, finding out is easy with a simple blood test, and you don’t necessarily have to see a doctor to have it done.
Everything You Need To Know About Blood Types
No matter your health status or your stage of life, understanding your blood type is essential. After all, your blood type isn’t necessarily identical to that of your partner, your parents, or your children. You and your loved ones could each have one of eight different blood types, each of which contain antigens that may make it incompatible with others.
Fortunately, a simple test can indicate your blood type, revealing clues about your health, providing critical information before a medical procedure, and even telling you how valuable you are as a blood donor. Find out how blood typing works, learn why this process is critical, and discover the vast array of information you can learn from a blood type test.
How Antigens Determine Your Blood Type
No matter your type, all blood contains the same basic building blocks. Blood includes red blood cells that transport oxygen, white blood cells that combat infections, and platelets that aid in clotting when you’re injured. Plasma, a fluid that consists of proteins and salts, carries all blood cells through your veins.
Your antigen makeup is the key factor in determining your blood type. Antigens reside on the surface of your red blood cells, where they serve as built-in protection devices for your blood supply. These substances are designed to identify foreign cells and trigger immune responses that produce antibodies in the plasma to attack potential invaders.
The presence or absence of antigens on your red blood cells and corresponding antibodies in your plasma defines your ABO blood group. This blood grouping system has four types:
- Group A: This blood group has A antigens and B antibodies.
- Group B: This blood group has B antigens and A antibodies.
- Group AB: This blood group has A and B antigens and no antibodies.
- Group O: This group doesn’t have either A or B antigens, but it has both A and B antibodies.
This blood group system may seem straightforward, but it’s still relatively new. In fact, Austrian physician Karl Landsteiner discovered the existence of antibodies and antigens in blood just over a century ago, in 1901. His work later led to the creation of blood groups, earned him a Nobel Prize in 1930, and contributed to significant advances in medicine.
The Rhesus System and Your Blood Type
A decade after receiving his Nobel Prize, Landsteiner and colleague A.S. Weiner discovered a secondary protein that also has a major impact on blood type. Their work with rhesus monkeys led to the creation of the Rhesus system, which highlights the presence or absence of the Rh factor. If your red blood cells have this protein, your plasma naturally contains Rh antigens. That means you’re considered positive, or Rh+. If you don’t have this protein, your blood is considered Rh-, or negative.
Standard blood typing combines the ABO system with the Rhesus system to create a more complete picture of your blood profile. That means you could have one of eight blood types:
- Type A+: Contains A and Rh antigens as well as B antibodies.
- Type A-: Contains A antigens as well as B antibodies.
- Type B+: Contains B and Rh antigens as well as A antibodies.
- Type B-: Contains B antigens as well as A antibodies.
- Type AB+: Contains A, B, and Rh antigens but no antibodies.
- Type AB-: Contains A and B antigens.
- Type O+: Contains Rh antigens as well as A and B antibodies.
- Type O-: Contains no antigens but has A and B antibodies.
Although most people have one of the eight common blood types, some people don’t fit neatly into this standard system. Over 600 other antigens can reside on red blood cells, leading to countless rare blood types. Since blood type is hereditary, rare blood types typically exist in ethnic groups.
Why Blood Typing Is Important
Each blood type contains a delicate balance of antigens and antibodies, and not all blood types are compatible with one another. Since antibodies are designed to fight corresponding antigens, a transfusion that mixes two incompatible blood types could cause the antibodies in one to attack the antigens in another. These antibody attacks can lead to agglutination, or the creation of clumps of red blood cells. Agglutination can create clogs, stop circulation, and may cause red blood cells to split and leak, which triggers toxic reactions.
Since mixing incompatible types can be harmful or even fatal, understanding your blood type is critical, especially if you’re donating blood or receiving a transfusion from a donor. After all, some blood types can’t pair safely with others, while others are compatible with several other types. The eight standard blood groups can pair as follows:
- Type A+: Can donate blood to types A+ and AB+. Can receive blood donations from types A+, A-, O+, and O-.
- Type A-: Can donate blood to types A+, A-, AB+, and AB-. Can receive blood donations from types A- and O-.
- Type B+: Can donate blood to types B+ and AB+. Can receive blood donations from types B+, B-, O+, and O-.
- Type B-: Can donate blood to types B+, B-, AB+, and AB-. Can receive blood donations from types B- and O-.
- Type AB+: Can donate blood to type AB+. Can receive blood donations from all eight types.
- Type AB-: Can donate blood to types AB+ and AB-. Can receive blood donations from types AB-, A-, B-, and O-.
- Type O+: Can donate blood to types O+, A+, B+, and AB+. Can receive blood donations from types O+ and O-.
- Type O-: Can donate blood to all eight types. Can receive blood donations only from type O-.
Overall, types O+ and A+ are by far the most common blood types in the United States, appearing in 37 and 36 percent of the population, respectively. Almost 9 percent of Americans have either type B+ or O- blood, while 6 percent have type A-, and 3 percent have type AB+ blood. Types B- and AB- are the least common in the U.S., appearing in 2 percent and less than 1 percent of the population, respectively.
What Your Blood Type May Tell You
While blood typing is essential before a transfusion or a donation, understanding your blood type can also reveal much more about you. Knowing your blood type can help you learn about your history and genetic makeup as well as your risk factors for developing serious health issues in the future.
Since each blood type appears in varying frequencies across the globe, understanding your blood type could help you pinpoint your ancestors. For example, blood type Rh+ is very common across the globe. It tends to appear most frequently in Asia and Australia, but Western Europeans and those with Basque heritage have some of the highest frequencies of blood type Rh-.
In addition, blood type A appears frequently in all populations, but it’s most predominant in North America and Europe. Blood type O is also common around the world, but it appears most frequently in Central and South America. In contrast, blood type B is relatively uncommon outside of Central Asia, Northern India, and Russia.
In many cases, your blood type can also shed light on diseases to which you may be more susceptible, as well as health conditions to which your body may be more resistant. After all, type A is the oldest of the ABO blood groups, while types O and B appeared much later. Like most genetic mutations, blood types O and B gave bearers select advantages, including resistance to certain diseases.
While few studies have demonstrated clear links between blood type and risk factor for diseases, several reports have suggested connections between the two. For example, people with blood type AB tend to have higher levels of a protein that encourages blood clotting and may lead to strokes. Along the same lines, studies have shown that people with type A and type B blood have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
In contrast, those with blood type O tend to have a greater resistance to many serious diseases. Several studies have demonstrated that those with blood type O have a natural protection against one of the most harmful forms of malaria, while tests have also shown that those with blood type O also have a significantly reduced risk of developing stomach cancer. Studies have also shown that people with blood type O have the lowest risk of developing cardiovascular disease, suggesting that they may have naturally low levels of inflammation and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Why Your Blood Type Is Important in Pregnancy
Knowing your blood type can tell you more about yourself and potential health risks, and it’s also important if you’re planning to have a child. Finding out the blood type for the father, mother, and child is essential, as incompatible Rh factors can pose serious health risks for the mother as well as for future children.
If you and your baby have the same Rh factor, your blood types are considered compatible and won’t cause problems. However, if you have a negative Rh factor and your partner has a positive Rh factor, there’s a chance your baby has a negative Rh factor, which could lead to complications. While your blood won’t normally come into contact with your baby’s blood, the two could mix during delivery or if trauma occurs at any time during your pregnancy.
In the event that they do mix, your red blood cells could begin to produce Rh antibodies. While these antibodies aren’t likely to cause harm to you or your baby right away, they could affect your next child. During your next pregnancy, there’s a chance that the Rh antibodies could enter your baby’s blood supply. If you’re Rh- and your baby is Rh+, the antibodies could attack your baby’s red blood cells and cause anemia, a condition that could be fatal to your unborn child.
To combat these potential complications, physicians often recommend that Rh- mothers have a blood test to screen for antibodies during the first trimester and again at delivery. If you test positive for Rh antibodies at your 28th week of pregnancy, your obstetrician will generally monitor you and your baby carefully, providing a blood transfusion for the baby if necessary.
If the antibody test you take in your first trimester produces a negative result, you’ll typically receive an Rh immune globulin injection to prevent your blood cells from generating any antibodies throughout your pregnancy. You’ll undergo another blood test at delivery. If your baby is born Rh+, you’ll typically need a second injection, but if your baby is born Rh-, you won’t usually need additional treatment.
In some cases, you’ll need additional injections to protect yourself and any future children. Prenatal tests like amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, or cordocentesis can all cause your baby’s blood to mix with yours and may require an injection. If you experience a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, substantial bleeding, or an abortion, Rh immune globulin is typically necessary.
What Influences Your Blood Type
Blood type is a hereditary trait, as parents’ blood types determine their children’s. While children’s blood types aren’t necessarily an exact match for one of their parents, understanding parents’ blood types can help narrow down the potential types that children could have.
A single gene determines ABO blood type, and three versions of the gene exist: A, B, and O. Both A and B versions of the blood type gene are dominant, and the O version is recessive. Children inherit one version of the gene from each parent, resulting in six potential combinations of genes that place them in one of four ABO groups.
For example, a child who inherits an A version of the gene from one parent and a B version from the other will have blood type AB. Inheriting an A version and an O version of the gene will result in blood type A, while inheriting two O versions of the gene will result in blood type O.
A separate gene determines whether children have the Rh factor. Since Rh factor is either positive or negative, only two versions of this gene exist. In this case, the positive version is dominant, and the negative version is recessive. That means inheriting a positive version and a negative version of the gene will result in blood type Rh+, while inheriting two negative versions will result in blood type Rh-.
Although creating a hereditary chart can help in assessing potential blood type options for current and future generations, this method isn’t scientific. Only a reliable test can confirm your blood type.
How Blood Typing Is Done
To find out your blood type, you’ll need to provide a blood sample. To begin the process, a clinician will sanitize your skin, ensure that your veins are visible, and then use a needle to draw a blood sample. The clinician will then place gauze over the puncture area and proceed with testing.
To complete the blood type test, the clinician will divide your sample into separate vials. The clinician will then mix your sample with a solution that contains A and B antibodies. If your blood cells react by forming clumps, then your blood contains at least one of the antigens. Next, the clinician will mix your plasma with either type A or type B blood to determine whether your blood has A, B, or both antibodies. Finally, the clinician will use a similar process of mixing your blood cells and plasma with Rh+ blood to determine your Rh factor.
After this test, you’ll know both your Rh factor and your ABO blood group, revealing your blood type. Since most blood type tests take mere minutes and the risks are minimal, blood typing is a simple and inexpensive process that can be incredibly informative.
What Happens If Your Blood Type Is Unknown
If you experience a medical emergency, it isn’t always possible to communicate your blood type, especially if you’re unconscious or in shock. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) may not have time to perform a blood test before administering a transfusion, but that lack of information won’t typically delay emergency procedures or prevent you from getting the blood supply you need.
Long considered a universal blood type, O- blood tends to be compatible with all other standard blood types. In an emergency or if your life is in danger, medical personnel will most commonly administer O- blood.
Despite its reputation as a universal option, however, even O- blood may have antibodies that react with other types. Not everyone has one of the eight common blood types, but you won’t usually know this until you experience a medical emergency. Since even O- blood can cause complications that increase the risk of the transfusion, medical personnel typically strive to use blood that precisely matches that of the patient.
Whether you receive O- blood or your exact match, physicians generally begin the transfusion process by testing compatibility. Carefully cross-matching a small sample of your blood with the donor’s blood ensures that the two are compatible and won’t cause additional complications.
Blood Type and Organ Donation
In the event that you need a new organ or you want to donate an organ, blood type testing can help assess your eligibility. The kidney donation process begins with blood typing, which determines the types of recipients who are compatible with you. Donors and recipients typically match as follows:
- Type A: Donors are compatible with type A and AB recipients.
- Type B: Donors are compatible with type B and AB recipients.
- Type AB: Donors are compatible with type AB recipients.
- Type O: Donors are compatible with all recipients.
Next, both the donor and the recipient undergo tissue typing, which compares 12 antigens to determine how compatible the tissue types are. While identical twins, siblings, parents, and children have the best chances of matching, even complete strangers can have few or even zero mismatches. Both patients also undergo a second tissue type test that checks for antibodies that may attack the tissue. Since antibody levels can change over time, most transplant recipients complete frequent tests for months after surgery.
In most cases, close relatives and exact blood type matches are ideal and increase the chances of success from an organ donation. However, antibody treatments may allow recipients to receive organs from donors without compatible blood types, ultimately increasing the range of donors available to a recipient in need of a transplant.
Blood Type and Donation Needs
From sickle cell patients who need recurring blood transfusions throughout their lives and cancer patients who require blood during a series of chemotherapy treatments to victims of car accidents who need large amounts of blood urgently, someone in the U.S. needs a blood donation every two seconds. Although nearly seven million U.S. residents donate blood every year, less than 10 percent of people eligible to donate do so. Since red blood cells expire within six weeks of donation and platelets expire in just five days, blood donations are in constant demand across the nation.
While red blood cells are in greatest demand, many patients need plasma and platelets, too. Since blood type O is compatible with the widest variety of blood types, it tends to be most frequently requested. Although almost half of Americans have type O blood, type O- is one of the least common among U.S. residents.
That means this highly compatible blood type tends to be in short supply. Fortunately, giving blood is relatively simple for eligible donors who can give whole blood every eight weeks. Because a single donation can save up to three lives, giving blood can have a substantial impact, no matter what your blood type.
Whether you want to prepare for a potential medical emergency, understand how your blood type could impact future children, assess your risk level for certain diseases, or learn more about hereditary factors, your blood type has the answers.
Knowing Your Blood Type
Many people understand that knowing your blood type is important in the event you need a blood transfusion. But it can also be important in other health scenarios.
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT BLOOD TYPES
How do I find out my blood type?
All it takes is a blood test for typing identification. If you become a blood donor, your blood is typed and cross-matched and remains on record. If you have a healthcare provider, make a request to know your blood type. You can also contact Health Testing Centers to order a basic blood test.
What are the different blood types?
Although all blood contains the same basic elements, not all blood is alike. There are a total of eight different common blood types categorized into four major groups. These combinations are determined by the presence or absence of certain antigens. Since some antigens can trigger a patient’s immune system to attack the transfused blood, safe blood transfusions depend upon the careful typing of blood and cross-matching between donor and recipient.
How is my blood type determined?
Blood type is inherited, passed genetically from your biological parents and is determined by two factors: the ABO grouping system and the Rh factor. Research shows that your blood type is a critical genetic factor that influences several areas of health.
The major blood types
The type of blood you have is based on the presence or absence of antigens and antibodies in your blood. Antigens are proteins that stick to the surface of red blood cells and determine your blood type. Antibodies are produced in the plasma or liquid portion of the blood.
There are four primary groups of blood type:
- Group A – contains only the A antigen on red cells with B antibody in the plasma.
- Group B – contains only the B antigen on red cells with A antibody in the plasma.
- Group AB – has both the A and B antigens on red cells, but neither A or B antibody in the plasma.
- Group O – has neither A or B antigens on red cells but both A and B antibodies are in the plasma.
What is the Rh Factor?
In addition to the ABO typing system, each blood type is also determined by the presence or absence of another antigen – the Rh Factor. For instance, if you are Rh-negative with Type A blood, you are considered A-negative. If you are Rh positive with Type B blood, you are B positive.
Why should I know my blood type?
Besides the risk of receiving an incompatible blood type when a transfusion takes place – which can lead to a clumping of blood cells that can be fatal – knowing your blood type is especially critical for pregnant women. If a woman is Rh-negative and pregnant with an Rh-positive baby, the condition is known as Rh-incompatibility.
The mixing of blood of an Rh-positive baby with a mother who is Rh-negative can produce antibodies that can affect future pregnancies and even cause a fatal outcome for the fetus. When a mother is found to be Rh-negative, she is usually given an immunoglobulin that prevents antibody production and sensitivity.
Other advantages of knowing your blood type: you may need a transfusion, you may wish to become a blood donor.
Blood Type Facts And Donation
Everyone, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity, relies on blood to survive. As a result there is a constant need for all blood types. The available supply of blood is dependent on donations made by eligible individuals throughout the country. There is however, often a fear that is associated with the act of donating blood. Education is the best way to promote blood donation, overcome any fears about the process and help maintain the blood supply at a level that meets the current need.
The ABO Blood Group System
- Blood is categorized in four primary types, or groups, based off of the ABO system. The four potential blood types are A, B, AB, and O.
- Antigens that are on the surface of red blood cells are either type A or they are type B. Their presence, or absence, determines whether blood is a type A or B. Blood groups are determined based off of these antigens.
- Blood types must be accurately matched for a safe red blood cell transfusion. People with type O blood can donate to all blood types and people with type A blood can donate to people with type A and type AB. A person with type B blood can safely donate to people with type B and type AB. If a person has type AB blood, he may donate red cells only to others with type AB.
- The presence of the Rh protein, or factor, in blood also helps determine a person’s blood type. The Rh factor is another type of antigen that may or may not be present in the blood. If it is present, the blood type is positive. If the Rh protein is absent, it is negative.
- Type O negative blood is the universal red cell donor. This means that a person that is O negative can donate his blood to anyone regardless of that person’s blood type. Type AB positive is the universal plasma donor. This means that a person with this blood type can donate blood to anyone.
Blood Types and Population
- Not all ethnic groups have the same percentage of blood type combinations. The mix of blood types varies by ethnic group.
- At two percent, Hispanics have the lowest percentage of AB positive. Asians, at seven percent, have the highest percent of AB positive blood types.
- Hispanics have the highest percentage of O positive blood at 53 percent. Caucasians have the lowest percentage of O positive blood.
- Overall, the most common blood type is O positive.
- Matching both ethnic background and ABO blood type can at times provide a closer blood match. This can reduce the chance of a reaction in some cases and help in the treatment of certain ethnic specific conditions, such as sickle cell disease.
How is My Blood Type Determined?
- A person’s blood type is determined by a combination of two genes, one from each parent.
- Blood typing is not enough to determine paternity.
- A child whose parents both are type A, the child will potentially be a type A or a type O. If both parents are a type B, than he will be either a type B or an O.
- When one parent is a type A and the other a type B, the child may have any of the four blood types.
- When one parent is a type AB and the second parent is either AB, A, or B, the child will be a type AB, A or B.
Blood Facts and Statistics
Facts About Blood Needs
- Diseases such as sickle cell and cancer require blood transfusions. Cancer patients may require transfusions on a daily basis.
- The amount of red blood cells needed for a transfusion is three pints.
- In the United States, blood is needed every two seconds.
- To meet the need for blood, there must be 38,000 blood donations daily.
- Victims of car accidents may require as much as 100 pints of blood on average.
Facts About the Blood Supply
- At present, there is no way that blood can be manufactured. It can only be collected by donors.
- There are roughly five million patients that receive blood yearly.
- There are 9.5 million blood donors in the United States.
- Less than 38 percent of people living in the United States are eligible to give blood.
- In the United States, 16 million donations of blood are collected in a year.
Facts About the Blood Donation Process
- Sterile needles used to collect blood are single use only.
- Before releasing donated blood to hospitals, it is tested for infectious diseases, such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), hepatitis B and C and syphilis.
- Red blood cells may be donated every 56 days. When double red cells are donated, there must be 112 days between donations.
- Platelets may be donated up to 24 times a year. Seven days must pass between donations.
- The donation process takes an hour and 15 minutes. The portion of this process that involves having the blood drawn for donation takes no more than 12 minutes.
Facts About Blood and Its Components
- A single blood donation can save three lives. This is because up to three transfusable components are taken from a pint of donated blood. These components, red cells, platelets, cryoprecipitate and plasma, are derived from blood.
- Apheresis is a process in which donors can donate blood components only.
- Red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days following donation.
- Platelets are outdated after five days.
- Red cells, platelets and plasma are replenished by healthy bone marrow.
Facts About Donors
- In the United States, seven percent of people have O negative blood type.
- When a person’s blood type is unknown in emergency situations, O negative is used.
- In the U.S., only three percent of the population has blood that’s type AB.
- The percentage of people in the United States with type O blood that’s either positive or negative is 45 percent.
- Both men and women donate blood equally.
Facts About American Red Cross Blood Services
- Forty percent of the blood supply in the United States comes from the Red Cross.
- The American Red Cross and its sponsors hold over 200,000 blood drives yearly.
- Approximately 3,000 hospitals in the United States receive blood from the Red Cross.
- Twenty percent of donated blood comes from Red Cross donor centers, while 80 percent comes from mobile blood drives at various locations.
What Happens to Donated Blood?
Step One: The Donation Process
- The donor completes the registration process.
- The donor provides a medical history and undergoes a mini physical examination.
- Blood is donated. The Red Cross collects several test tubes and one pint of blood from the donor.
- Identical barcoded labels are placed on the donor’s record, the bag and test tubes of blood.
- The donated blood is placed in coolers of ice where it is kept until it is taken to the Red Cross Center.
Step Two: Processing Procedure
- The test tubes are sent to be tested.
- The Red Cross scans the blood donation into its database.
- The donated blood is placed in a centrifuge and spun to separate the transfusable components.
- The Red Cross then leukocyte-reduces the red cells.
- Platelets are also leukocyte-reduced and they are bacterially tested.
Step Three: Testing Process
- There are five Red Cross National Testing Laboratories. The test tubes are sent to and then received by one of these laboratories.
- Each unit of blood undergoes a dozen tests. These tests are checking for infectious diseases and are meant to establish the blood type.
- Within 24 hours, results of the tests are electronically sent to the manufacturing facility.
- The donor is notified if the tests return positive for infectious diseases. The donated blood is discarded.
- The testing in this step occurs at the same time as Step two.
Step Four and Five: Storage and Distribution
- Labels are placed on units of blood that undergone testing and are found to be safe.
- Refrigerators that are kept at six degrees Celsius are used for storing red cells. Red cells are stored for 42 days only.
- Agitators are used to store platelets at room temperature. They are kept for no longer than five days.
- Freezers are used to freeze and store plasma and cryo for one year.
- Shipping of blood can occur at any time, seven days a week and at any hour.
A Guide To Eating For Your Blood Type
Can Eating To Suit Your Blood Type Improve Your Health?
The blood type diet, developed by naturopath Dr. Peter D’Adamo, is based on the premise that a person’s blood type reacts chemically with the foods he or she eats. According to D’Adamo, eating for your blood type can result in more efficient digestion, increased energy, weight loss, improved stress tolerance, greater mental clarity and reduced risk of disease. While no scientific studies have been done that directly evaluate D’Adamo’s claims, many people who use this plan feel that it has benefited their health and well-being.
Eating For Your Blood Type
The basic theory behind the blood type diet is that blood types evolved in our ancestors as a response to the types of foods available to them. This, according to Dr. D’Adamo, makes blood type a factor in determining which foods can be most efficiently metabolized by the body. His blood type diet provides dietary guidelines according to each of the basic blood types, specifying what individuals of each blood type should be eating and what they should avoid to achieve optimal health.
Blood Type O
The most common blood type, type O blood is inherited from ancestors who were hunter-gatherers, according to Dr. D’Adamo. He suggests that they consumed a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet. Type O blood, according to the blood type diet theory, predisposes a person to insulin resistance, thyroid dysfunction, weight gain and ulcers. For those with type O blood, eating for your blood type means a diet that includes lots of lean meats, poultry, and fish, as well as plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Foods that should be limited are grains, beans and legumes and dairy products.
Blood Type A
According to Dr. D’Adamo, people with type A blood descended from ancestors that mastered farming and harvesting, making them best suited to a vegetarian diet. The theory is that people with type A blood are genetically predisposed to heart disease, diabetes and cancer, risks that a diet that emphasizes fresh, organic plant-based foods can reduce. If your blood is type A, eating for your blood type means a meat-free diet that is based on beans and legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Blood Type B
Blood type B, according to the blood type diet, developed in ancestors who were nomadic, with diets that varied extensively as a result of their wanderings. Individuals with this blood type are said to be genetically predisposed to health issues that include autoimmune disorders, inflammation, and higher than normal levels of stress hormones. Type B individuals have a bit more dietary flexibility than A or O types. Recommended foods include green vegetables, eggs, lamb, rabbit or fish and low fat dairy products. Foods to avoid include wheat, buckwheat, corn, lentils, sesame seeds, peanuts, tomatoes and chicken.
Blood Type AB
Individuals with type AB blood share a combination of type A and type B characteristics. Eating for your blood type for an individual with type AB blood means adopting a vegetarian lifestyle with the incorporation of small amounts of dairy products and animal protein, such as fish or poultry. Foods to avoid include smoked or cured meats, lima beans, corn, buckwheat and sesame seeds, and type AB individuals should stay away from caffeine and alcohol.
Don’t Know Your Blood Type?
Of course, eating for your blood type means knowing what it is. Unless you’ve had extensive medical care or have been in the military, where blood type is tested and recorded, chances are good that you don’t know yours off-hand. You can find out what your blood type is via a simple blood test, which measures blood group antigens to determine whether your blood is type A, B, AB or O, and Rh antigens to identify whether your blood is Rh-positive or Rh- negative.
Thinking of Trying the Blood Type Diet? Things to Consider
The theory that eating for your blood type can enhance health, well-being and weight control is controversial, with some dietitians and health care professionals feeling that the concept may have merit and others discounting it as just another diet fad. Evidence of its success is anecdotal. No studies have been done that conclusively prove Dr. D’Adamo’s theories. That said, there are many people out there who feel that this diet has improved their lives. If you are considering this diet or any other, see your doctor before making substantial dietary changes.
<h3″>Why Are Blood Type Diets So Popular
Blood type diets first became popular with the release of a book written by naturopathic physician Peter D’Adamo in 1996. His book, “Eat Right For Your Type,” made the NY Times Bestseller list and popularized his blood type diet. Since then, diet and exercise programs based on D’Adamo blood type theory have remained popular – chiefly because many people who have used these diets feel that they work. While scientific evidence on their effectiveness is scarce, many who use these diets credit them for weight-loss success and improved health and well-being.
What Are Blood Type Diets?
Blood type diets are individual eating plans, differing according to a person’s blood type. Some of these plans also include specific types of exercise for each blood group. The premise behind blood type diets is that a person’s blood group influences how well he or she digests and metabolizes certain foods, which, in turn, influences health and well-being. Working from this premise, blood type diets prescribe certain foods as optimal for each blood type and advise that others be avoided. There are also a substantial number of foods that are considered neutral – permissible for all blood types.
Popular Blood Type Diets
While Dr. D’Adamo’s book is still primary in terms of popular blood type diets, many in the alternative medicine and fitness communities have added some touches of their own, recommending specific meal and exercise programs that conform – albeit sometimes roughly – to the principles laid out in his book. Weight-loss plans using the blood type theory have become particularly popular. D’Adamo’s book itself does not promote blood type diets for that purpose, but does mention that weight loss is often a natural consequence of these eating plans, since eating foods the plan deems wrong for your blood type can promote weight gain.
So why are blood type diets so popular nearly two decades after first being introduced to the public? One reason that blood type diets have caught on is that they appeal to a person’s sense of individuality. After all, they aren’t quite like anyone else, so why follow generic dietary advice – get this much of these nutrients every day from these healthy food choices – that assumes everyone needs the same basic things. Blood type diets are all about customization, giving recommendations according to a variety of very individual factors, such as blood type, gender, ethnicity, and many others.
Interest level may be a factor in the popularity of these diets as well. Blood type diets are based on an intriguing theory, one that involves delving into the history of various cultures and lifestyles, genetic ties and evolutionary differences. These things are a lot more interesting to contemplate than the plain and simple advice – good food in correct quantities and proportions leads to good health – given by the average nutritionist.
Another reason popular blood type diets have staying power is because a good number of people who use them feel that they’ve helped them lose weight and/or feel better in general – claiming beneficial effects that include more efficient digestion, increased energy, improved stress tolerance, greater mental clarity and reductions of disease risk factors, such as lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.
There is some disagreement as to why these plans seem to work for many people, with proponents of the blood type theory claiming those results as evidence that it is correct, and skeptics attributing them to the fact that following these diets eliminates most processed and otherwise unhealthy foods. Which side of that controversy is correct remains to be seen, since very little medical research on the theory has been done – and results from the few studies that have been pursued aren’t conclusive.
So while the jury is still out on popular blood type diets in terms of scientific evidence, they do seem to have had benefits for some people who have used them over the years. Of course, if you’re considering trying this approach, seeing your doctor before making any major changes to your diet is always wise.
Blood Type Workout
Is your Workout Right for your Blood Type?
Does your blood type matter when you choose a workout? According to Dr. Peter D’Adamo, author of The Blood Type Diet, and Dr. Joseph Christiano, author of Blood Types, Body Types, and You, it does indeed. These naturopathic doctors and other proponents of blood type diet and fitness plans state that each blood type has unique characteristics in terms of health and well-being. Based on these differences, they recommend a different type of diet and a distinct style of exercise for each blood type in order to achieve optimal results in reaching and/or maintaining a healthy body weight and level of fitness.
The Premise behind Workouts for Specific Blood Types
The theory upon which blood type diet and exercise plans are based is that the four distinct blood groups evolved in our ancestors in response to diet and lifestyle. This, according to proponents of these plans, makes blood type an important consideration in determining what types of foods can be most easily metabolized by the body and what sort of exercise can best maintain optimal fitness and health. Below, we’ll detail how those theories translate into practical action in terms of your workout.
Blood Type O
Individuals with type O blood, according to blood type theories, have a genetic makeup that most closely resembles our hunter-gatherer ancestors, or cave men. People with this genetic profile tend to be intense, athletic and strong, and need exercise more than other blood types to manage stress and anxiety and maintain physical health, since those with type O blood, according to blood type theories, are predisposed to thyroid and metabolic disorders, as well as weight gain and ulcers. Under a blood type fitness plan, high-intensity exercise, like running, swimming, bicycling, interval training or plyometrics are recommended for type O individuals.
Blood Type A
Type A individuals are thought to have descended from ancient farmers, who also got plenty of exercise, but spent their time engaged in slower, less intense activity than did those hunter-gatherer types. People with type A blood may have difficulty recovering from stress, responding to it with high levels of stress hormones. People with blood type A are said to be prone to heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Workouts that promote calm and focus are recommended for this blood type, such as Tai Chi, yoga or Pilates. Since type A individuals are said to be more prone to joint problems than other blood types, they are encouraged to avoid over-training in higher intensity workouts, such as aerobics or resistance training.
Blood Type B
People with type B blood may have inherited the traits of nomadic ancestors, tending to be very active. They are not quite as intensely physical as type O individuals, but like them, need exercise to release tension and focus the mind. Like type A people, those with type B blood have a tendency towards high levels of stress hormones. They are said to be predisposed to inflammation and autoimmune disorders. Exercise recommended for type B include aerobics, swimming, jogging, hiking, yoga and tai chi.
Blood Type AB
Individuals who have type AB blood – a rare blood type – are said to have inherited characteristics common to both type A and type B. They are likely to be intense, internalizing feelings, and are prone to muscle stiffness and pain. Lower-intensity, calming exercise is recommended for type AB, such as tennis, low-impact aerobics or yoga.
Considering a Workout Tailored To Your Blood Type?
If you’re thinking of trying a fitness routine that, according to blood type theories, is compatible with your genetic makeup, it is important to know that these theories have not been proven conclusively in clinical trials to be effective for weight loss or health maintenance. However, many people who have used these plans feel that their lives have been improved by doing so.
After all, anything that promotes more activity is going to be good for you. If you’re going to give it a try, the first step is finding out your blood type. Many of us don’t know, with the exception of those who have served in the military and people who have had extensive medical treatment. Blood type testing is a very simple blood test that measures blood group antigens to determine whether your blood is type A, B, AB or O, and Rh antigens to identify whether your blood is Rh-positive or Rh- negative.
Some of the media in this article come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Image Library (PHIL), with identification #6245.