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Your blood group can affect your health

May 2018

Having blood taken by doctor
Knowing your blood group could soon become much more important

Nearly half of people in the UK have blood type O, so it is disquieting to learn that this blood type may treble the risk of dying from a serious injury.

Blood types and how they affect our general health are a big new area of study, and recent research at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University Hospital indicates that blood type O can be a potential risk factor for haemorrhage.

Loss of blood is a leading cause of death in people with severe trauma and this new study looked at data from 901 emergency care patients in Japan. The results showed a death rate of 28 per cent in people with type O blood against just 11 per cent for all other blood groups combined.

The report indicates that people with type O blood have lower levels of the Von Willebrand factor, a blood clotting agent that may help prevent life-threatening bleeding.

Dr Wataru Takayama, who led the study, said that the results raised questions about the emergency transfusion of type O red blood cells into severe trauma patients and this is now a new area to be looked at.
The main blood group categories are O, A, B and AB.

Despite this latest research, having blood group O is not necessarily bad news. Related studies undertaken at Holland’s University Medical Centre Groningen shows that the lower clotting levels (or less sticky blood) in type O blood may mean people are less likely to have heart attacks than those in other blood groupings.

Dr Ellen Maxwell from Australia’s Melbourne Pathology said the Von Willebrand factor affecting the clotting of blood could also be involved in the risk of stroke.

Talking about the Von Willebrand factor, Dr Maxwell said: “Levels of this are 20-30 per cent lower in people with type O, meaning their blood is simply less sticky compared to non-O individuals.”

It is all a new area of research and is just that at the moment…research, so there is no need for people to become concerned. However, for people wanting to know more, a Dr Peter D’Adamo has written a book Eat Right  For Your Type  (available on Amazon at ) which suggests that different blood types release different amounts of chemicals such as cortisol or adrenaline, in response to stress and other factors.

He covers the subject of eating the best food suited to your blood type and research in this area has indicated the people with:
Blood type A
Have high levels of cortisol so they should do calming exercises like hiking or swimming, and perform best on a vegetarian diet.

Blood type B
Need a mix of intense exercise and more meditative work. They do well with lots of meat (but not chicken), dairy and green veg.

Blood type AB
Suit a balanced workout plan, best on a diet that’s high in fish and seafood, and prefer smaller meals.

Blood type O
Respond well to vigorous exercise, and have high levels of stomach acid so can tolerate a diet with more meat.

But then there is the complex issue of whether you are RhD positive or RhD negative. Each of the main blood groups also fall into one of these categories. This is based on whether your blood contains a protein known as the RhD antigen. If it does, then your blood group is RhD positive. If it is absent, then your blood is classified as RhD negative. RhD positive is the most common, with around 85% of the UK population having this.

Research is ongoing on the effect of all these differences on our general health which is very good news and will without doubt add to new ways to maintain our health and indeed our longevity.

Visit the NHS website for an overview of blood grouping.

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