News / Health

    Rare Blood Types Carry Increased Risk for Heart Disease

    Vials of different blood types are pictured in a hospital.
    Vials of different blood types are pictured in a hospital.
    Jessica Berman
    Not all blood is alike. 

    There are four blood groups, based on the presence of particular antigens.  The types are known as A, B, AB -- the rarest type -- and O -- the most common. 

    Researchers have discovered that people with rare blood types are more likely to develop coronary artery disease than those with the most common blood type.

    Compared to people with type O blood, those with type AB had a 23 percent increased risk of heart disease.  Individuals with type B blood were 11 percent more likely than type Os to have coronary artery disease.  And type As had a five percent increased risk.

    The study was conducted by investigators at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, who analyzed data from two large U.S. studies:  the Nurses’ Health Study, which tracked the health of more than 62,000 nurses, and the Health Professional Follow-Up Study that involved more than 27,000 men.  The participants in both studies were followed for 20 years or more, and the findings of the Harvard study are consistent for men and women.

    Senior author Lu Qi, a professor of population studies at Harvard, says a genetic analysis could tell doctors whether the usual recommendations for reducing the risk of heart disease, such as improved diet and exercise, would be effective for individuals with rarer blood types.
     
    “If we found risk factors would cause a different response in people with different blood types, we can provide specific recommendations for people with different blood types," Qi said.

    Forty-three percent of Americans have type O blood, compared to 57 percent who have either A, B or AB.

    Compared to other blood types, previous studies have found that people with type A blood tend to have higher levels of cholesterol, the waxy substance that clogs arteries, while type B blood is associated high blood pressure.  Both conditions are risk factors for coronary artery disease.

    People with the rarest blood type, AB, have been been shown to have higher levels of circulating endothelial cells, which can cause inflammation and the formation of arterial plaques that can lead to clogged heart arteries.

    But Qi says that having one of the rarer blood types does not necessarily mean a person is prone to heart disease.

    “Carrying the blood type AB or A or B doesn’t mean the person will develop chronic heart disease for sure," he said. "What we found just [means] they are at higher risk to develop chronic heart disease.”

    Qi says that regardless of their blood type, people should maintain a healthful lifestyle to reduce their risk of coronary artery disease.

    An article on blood type and heart disease is published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Elisha from: Cincinnati, Ohio
    August 17, 2012 8:46 PM
    It's interesting that they decided to group both the RH-Pos. blood with the RH-Neg blood. Neg's have different protein and our blood does not work the same. We are more prone to autoimmune diseases and an obvious fact is that the pregnant female RH-Neg.'s blood can attack it's RH-Pos. fetus. That's an autoimmune scenario. I wish that Harvard and others in the medical world would finally start researching RH-Neg blood and it's association with autoimmune diseases. It's ironic to me that Qi stated, “If we found risk factors would cause a different response in people with different blood types, we can provide specific recommendations for people with different blood types." So far, doctors look at me with a strange face when I raise the topic of negative blood and autoimmune conditions. By the way, I was just diagnosed with Hashimotos TODAY and I am a red hair. Red hair is prevalent among negative blood and thyroid conditions.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.