By Kristina James
Published by Ruby
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What’s in a blood type?
Not only can knowing your blood type save time in a medical emergency but knowing your type can actually provide important insight into your health. Different blood types are more susceptible to certain diseases, so being aware of your blood type can help you adjust your lifestyle accordingly. But first, what is a blood type, and how do the types differ from one another?
Blood Types Defined
Blood types are inherited from your parents and are formed by a combination of two grouping systems: Rh and ABO. Your ABO provides the A, B, AB or O part of your blood type, and is determined by the presence of certain antigens. The Red Cross defines antigens as substances that can trigger an immune response if they are foreign to the body. This is why your body rejects blood from a transfusion if it is incompatible with your blood type.
The second half of your blood type is whether your blood is Rh+ or Rh-, which is how you know if your type is positive or negative. While people with Rh+ (positive) blood have antigens on the surface of their red blood cells, people who have Rh- (negative) blood do not. This means that those with Rh+ blood can accept Rh+ or Rh- blood in a transfusion, while those with Rh- can only accept Rh- blood.
Blood type and your health.
Most of us have heard of the Type A personality, but have you ever wondered how it started? People with Type A blood are known to have higher levels of the stress hormone, cortisol in their bodies, earning them the reputation for being a bit tense. Studies also show correlations between blood type and potential health issues and health benefits. And although that does not mean you will experience those issues, learning about your blood type will play a crucial part in how you care for your personal health.
By knowing the risks or benefits of your blood type, you can adjust your lifestyle accordingly. If your blood type is more prone to heart disease, you may focus on eating a healthy diet. Or if you are Type A and struggle to manage stress, you might make activities like yoga or getting outdoors a priority. Whatever your type, educate yourself so you can stay healthy.
Get to know your blood type.
- Mosquitos are the least attracted to Type A blood
- Greater risk of heart disease
- More likely than Types O and B to get pancreatic cancer
- Prone to feeling stress more often
- Has 50,000 times the amount of good bacteria than those with Type A or Type O blood
- Women with Type B have a greater risk of ovarian cancer. If your family has a history of ovarian cancer, you may want to be screened regularly
- Those with Type AB can donate plasma to anyone
- Greater risk for heart disease than those with Type O
- Women have more chance of developing preeclampsia while pregnant. You may want to be cognizant of preeclampsia symptoms (constant headache, vision changes, sudden weight gain) if you are pregnant
- People with Type O have a lower risk of pancreatic cancer.
- Less chance of dying of malaria
- Unfortunately, mosquitos are extremely attracted to Type O blood so you may consider investing in bug spray.
- Greater likelihood of getting ulcers
- More risk of rupturing your Achilles tendon
Knowing your blood type may save your life
In the case of an emergency, time is a valuable resource and the faster medical professionals can get the information they need, the faster they can get you the care you need. If a medical emergency requires a blood transfusion, there’s no time to waste. Your doctor will need to know your blood type immediately, and having that information prepared and ready could be life saving.
Sharing your blood type with your family members serves the same purpose. You may be incapacitated during a medical emergency, and therefore, unable to disclose your blood type to those caring for you. If your family has immediate access to this information, they can make sure your doctor has everything he/she needs to know to treat you.
If you do not know your blood type, there are a number of ways you can find out. You can take a test at your doctor’s office, order a rapid blood typing kit and test yourself at home, or in some cases, organizations like the Red Cross will tell you your blood type when you donate blood.
Having all the information you need on hand, like your blood type, is essential in a medical emergency. Wondering what other information you might need? Check out our article, Medical Emergencies: Planning for the Unexpected where we provide a list of the information you should have during an emergency.
Ruby offers a tool that allows you to store important medical information like your HIPAA release form, current medications, and blood type in one place, and access it from your computer, tablet, or mobile device. This way, the information your doctor needs to save your life is accessible any time, anywhere. The Ruby Medical Information Kit also allows you to share your information with family so they can communicate this information to your doctor if you are unable. Get started on your Medical Information Kit now.