Can your blood type affect your health?

blood typeHumans have four different blood types – eight if you count Rh Positive and Negative.

And according to a recent Swedish study, there are links between blood types and diseases.

When researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute analyzed health data from more than 5 million people, they identified 49 diseases linked to blood types and one associated with the Rh factor. Links between type A and more blood clots, for example, between type O and bleeding disorders, and between type B and a lower risk of kidney stones.

This is just the latest of many studies investigating links between blood types and health conditions. Of course, correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation, and explanations for most of these links remain theoretical:

  • People with type O blood tend to have lower risks of coronary artery disease. Experts think this may be because other blood types likely have higher cholesterol and more of a protein linked to clotting.
  • Thanks to this lower risk of cardiovascular disease, experts think that people with type O blood have higher chances of living longer.
  • That clotting protein in type A, B, and AB blood can cause venous thromboembolism – i.e., deep vein blood clotting – in legs. Sometimes those clots can break off and move to the lungs.
  • Particularly for those with type AB, the clotting protein can also increase the risk of strokes.
  • People with type B blood are less likely to have kidney stones.
  • Type Os have lower risk of stomach cancer, while type As’ risks are higher. Researchers theorize that people with type A blood are more susceptible to stomach bacterium pylori, which can cause inflammation and ulcers.
  • Molecules in type A and B red blood cells can help those pylori bacteria grow in and around the pancreas, increasing the likelihood of cancer there.
  • One small study showed that more people with memory problems had type AB blood than any other.
  • Type A blood tends to contain more cortisol, the stress hormone.
  • The parasite that causes malaria when a mosquito bites you has a harder time attaching to type O blood cells.
  • While type Os may get less malaria, they seem to get peptic ulcers more often.
  • In one study, type O women were found to have lower numbers of healthy eggs. In the Swedish study, they were found to be more likely to develop pregnancy-induced high blood pressure.
  • People with types A and B tend to get type 2 diabetes more often. Researchers have no idea why.

This confirms what’s always been our guiding principle at Senior Insights: that no two people are alike, and that the differences go as deeply as our blood and our guts. And those differences, moreover, are not just physical, but also mental, emotional, psychological, and social.

Unlike too many senior care agencies, we recognize that like people of all ages, seniors are individuals, with their own personal needs, wants, and outlooks. So we start with a thorough three-part needs assessment, in which we discuss everything – from physical, psychological and mental status to mobility issues and nutritional needs and legal wishes – with clients, their caregivers and their families. Then, and only then, do we custom-design a holistic, coordinated care plan based on what we’ve learned.

Please contact us to learn how learning, and adapting our services to, each person’s unique individual differences can help make life longer, healthier, and happier.