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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

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.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid