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If You Have This Blood Type, You May Be at Risk for Heart Disease

“The A, B or AB red blood cells and the vessels they flow through are stickier and more resistant to blood flow."
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

Your blood type can reveal a lot about you—even whether or not you might get heart disease. What are blood types anyway? "Blood types, A, B, AB and 0 refer to the kind of antibodies that are attached to the surface of the blood cells," says Dr. Sheldon Zablow, a nutritional psychiatrist and author of Your Vitamins Are Obsolete. "A and B each have one different type on their surface and AB has both. Type 0 really stands for type 'zero' because there are no antibodies on its surface. This has been misread as type 'O' and over time has become an oh-O." So how can you tell if you might get heart disease? "The blood type antibodies on the surface of the cell are also found on the surface of the cells of many organs but of importance here is that they are also on the surface of the cells that line the blood vessels," he says. "Antibodies are 'sticky' proteins that are waiting in the blood and on the surface of cells to capture and kill any foreign (not produced by the body) substances such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites." Read on to see which blood type may put you at risk—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.

1

Generally, a Non-O type

Hand in blue glove holding samples for DNA amplification with red reaction mictures
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"Non-O blood types (A, B and AB) put you at higher risk for heart disease," says Jam Lim, Geneticist and Lead Product Development Scientist at CRI Genetics. "Scientists don't know exactly why, but some say it may be due to higher concentrations of blood clotting factors which increase the chance of thrombosis or blood clotting."

2

AB Blood Type

A male scientist/doctor holding a test tube marked Blood Test with group AB circled.
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"The A, B or AB red blood cells and the vessels they flow through are stickier and more resistant to blood flow," says Dr. Zablow. "It would logically follow, as does much of the research, that AB would have the greatest cardiovascular risk since it has the most surface antibodies followed by A and B with less and 0 having the least."

3

What About Types A and B?

Type A+ blood tube
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"A study showed that people with type A or B blood were 51% more likely to develop blood clots in the veins and 47% more likely to develop blood clots in the lungs," says Leann Poston. "Specifically, type A blood puts you at 6% higher risk of heart disease; Type B with a 15% higher risk; and Type AB puts one at 23% higher risk," says Hoang P Nguyen, MemorialCare.

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4

What is the von Willebrand factor?

Main components of the blood plasma: complement C1, fibrinogen, von Willebrand factor, ferritin, HDL, immunoglobulin G, immunoglobulin M, albumin, LDL.
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"There has been accumulating evidence that shows a link between having non-type O blood and an increased risk of heart disease. Potential explanations are the level of von Willebrand factor in the blood, cholesterol levels, or risk for developing blood clots," Dr. Poston. "Von Willebrand factor is a blood protein involved in the clotting process. The level of von Willebrand factor seems to be slightly lower in people with type O blood."

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5

However, it's Not the Cause of Increased Risk

man having heart attack
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"Anything that thickens the blood (dehydration, prescribed medications, autoimmune illnesses) can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks, strokes and blood clots," says Dr. Zablow. "This increased risk is an increase in predisposition as opposed to a direct cause. This means blood type is one of many significant factors, along with obesity, genetics, diet, vitamin intake, exercise, that increase cardiovascular disease risk." And to get through life at your healthiest, don't miss these 13 Everyday Habits That Are Secretly Killing You.

Emilia Paluszek
Emilia specializes in human biology and psychology at the University at Albany. Read more