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If You Have This Blood Type, You May Be at Risk of Inflammation

What to know about inflammation, according to experts. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

There's eight major blood types  A+, A-, B+, B-, O+, O-, AB+ or AB- and knowing which one you have can be lifesaving in an emergency, but also tell you a lot about your health. Certain blood types have been associated with health issues like stomach cancer and heart disease, as well as inflammation. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who explain what to know about inflammation and which blood types are at a greater risk.  Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


What Should People Know About Inflammation?

body inflammation

Dr. Jacob Hascalovici MD, PhD, Clearing Chief Medical Officer says, "Inflammation is the body's way of addressing infections and many other perceived threats. During inflammation, the body may pump more blood to the affected area and may also release defense chemicals and white blood cells as it tries to control damage. This is helpful during initial healing, which often occurs within three months. Inflammation that persists past that point may become chronic inflammation, and may not be so helpful. Instead, it could be a sign of the body "getting stuck" in defense mode, attacking the wrong cells or tissues and maintaining an overly reactive immune system at the cost of your overall health. Patients who experience chronic inflammation are likely to also have conditions such as arthritis, autoimmune diseases, bowel diseases, cancer, depression, diabetes, heart disease, and more. People should know that chronic inflammation can often be prevented or controlled, and that even if you have it, there are things you can do to reduce it."


Your Blood Type and Inflammation

lab assistant holding test tube with blood while standing in

Dr. Hascalovici shares, "Of the eight different blood types, blood types AB and B are associated with the highest risk of cardiac inflammation and with general health concerns. For people with blood type A, stress management and arthritis can be a concern."

Dr. JB Kirby a doctorate-prepared nurse practitioner with 37 years of experience and worked in Hematology/Oncology for 10 years adds, "Everyone knows about acute injury and inflammation. For example, you fall on your knee, you get a swollen bump. This is acute inflammation.  But chronic inflammation is bad for the body. This stresses the body. Diseases from chronic inflammation account for more than half the deaths worldwide.  Researchers have been investigating how blood type impacts disease since the early 1900s.  Diseases that can be caused from inflammation include rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, Parkinson's, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer.  Research has found that people with blood type AB and B are at higher risk of heart disease. This is thought to be due to inflammation. A study in 2017 found that people with Type A blood are more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis. The same study found that people with Type O blood were more likely to experience systemic lupus erythematosus." 


How to Help Prevent Chronic Inflammation

no smoking sign

Dr. Hascalovici explains, "Preventing and controlling chronic inflammation starts with good everyday health habits. That means following a low-inflammation eating plan, being active for around 30 minutes a day, quitting or tapering off cigarettes, practicing strategies for keeping stress in its place, and spending time with people who support you.

Extra weight isn't usually a friend to those with chronic inflammation, so experts advise losing any extra weight. Avoiding sugar and lowering the amount of dairy, high-fat foods, and white breads and pastas you eat can help with that."


Chronic Inflammation Can Affect Your Entire Body

Tired young woman with neck and back pain standing in the living room at home.

"The frustrating thing about chronic inflammation is the way it can impact so many systems throughout your body," Dr. Hascalovici states. "The positive side to chronic inflammation is that you can do a lot to manage it, and that even if you're already showing signs of it, it's not too late to improve your health."

Dr. Neil Paulvin, a multiple board-certified physician with certifications in Family Medicine, Osteopathic Manipulation, and Anti Aging and Regenerative Medicine adds, "Inflammation can lead to many health issues, not just joint or muscle pain. Inflammation is associated with heart disease, diabetes and some neurodegenerative issues."


How to Tell if You Have Inflammation

young woman sitting at desk with back pain
Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov

Dr. Paulvin explains there's several ways to tell if you have inflammation. 

–Joint or Muscle Pain

"You may notice inflammation if your joints or muscles hurt right after exercise. This is different from muscle soreness, as the pain will occur right after exercise.

–Bloating or Abdominal Cramping

There may be inflammation if you have bloating or abdominal cramping. This can happen because of an altering of the microbiome. This can happen because of inflammation in the gut and can lead to problems absorbing food and nutrients leading to bloating and pain. 

–Weight Gain

Inflammation can lead to weight gain.  This occurs through limiting how effective insulin is. This leads to changes in fat cells."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather