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Does blood type affect your health?

Published:Saturday | November 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Dr. Douglas Street, Contributor

In recent times, many of us have received information on the Internet about what diet is most appropriate for the various blood types. As usual, there are believers and sceptics. But is there any truth to it? Does your blood type affect your health in any way?

Most persons are curious about their blood type. Most of us know about the major blood groups, O, A, B and AB, and Rhesus negative and positive groups. Knowing what blood group a person has helps us to determine to whom that person can give blood and from whom they can receive it. It's also important in pregnancy as during delivery, a little mixing of mother and baby blood occurs which can lead to reactions which can affect the current, or a future baby.

Other effects

Surprisingly, the blood type can have other effects on their health. In fact, studies have shown that different blood types have differing risks for certain disease conditions. They found that compared with persons having blood group O, those with group AB have 23 per cent greater risk of developing coronary heart disease, those with group B, 15 per cent higher; and type A, six per cent higher risk. This may be partly because those with group O blood type form blood clots less readily while those with group B blood type generally have higher levels of total cholesterol, as well as LDL ('bad') cholesterol. Therefore, persons with other than type O blood may need to be more vigilant about diet and lifestyle.

Other studies have shown likewise interesting information as well. They have shown that men and women with blood type AB and women with type B are more likely to have strokes. Also, certain forms of the Rotavirus (the virus manly responsible for gastroenteritis) are more likely to infect those with blood type A. Again, compared with blood type O, those with type B have a 72 per cent greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer; AB, 51 per cent greater; and A, 32 per cent greater. Also, those with group A have generally a higher risk of developing cancer than those with group O. Specifically, those with group A have a higher incidence of breast and lung cancer, while gastrointestinal cancer seems more common in those with types O and B, and oral cancer more frequent in types A and B.

On the other hand, persons with type O tend to have fertility challenges more frequently.