Researchers found that those with type A blood are more likely to have a stroke than those with other blood types.
According to the meta-analysis, people with blood type O are less likely than others to experience an early-onset stroke.
Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the United States, conducted the research. They looked at the relationship between genetic traits such as blood type and stroke.
The Risk of Suffering a Stroke
They analyzed data from 48 genetic studies examining ischemic strokes in adults aged 18 and 59. A blockage in blood flow to the brain is what causes ischemic strokes.
These studies involved 17,000 stroke victims and almost 600,000 healthy controls who hadn’t had a stroke before.
Mitchell stated, “We’ve known for a while that stroke has a large environmental component but also a genetic component.” Mitchell is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
He and his colleagues looked at people’s genetic profiles to explore the matter further. They discovered a link between stroke early in life and the area on the chromosome. This includes the gene that determines a person’s blood type.
Humans have four major blood groups: A, B, and AB. The genes that a person inherits from their parents determine their blood type. The most common blood group is O.
Researchers found that people with early-onset stroke were likelier than those who have suffered from late stroke or people who have never had one.
Mitchell stated that having blood type A raises your risk of early-onset stroke by 16 percent and only about 5 percent for later-onset stroke.
“If you are O blood type, you are 12 percent less likely than 4 percent to have a later-onset stroke.
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Very low risk
Researchers did find a link between blood type A and early-onset stroke risk, but they stressed that this risk was minimal.
This finding led them to stress that people with type A blood shouldn’t be concerned about having an early-onset stroke or participating in additional screening or medical testing.
Mitchell stated, “Clinically, we shouldn’t worry about our blood types putting ourselves at high risk of stroke.”
“Sticking and hypertension are two other important risk factors that can increase your chances of stroke. These are the key factors to consider if you want to lower your risk of stroke.
He said, “Having said all that, we are curious if those risk factors and blood type A make these risk factors more powerful.” That is something we don’t yet know. That’s something we are looking into.”
Researchers believe that blood type A may be responsible for this higher risk.
Another study has shown that people with A blood types are at a slightly higher risk for blood clots in their legs, also known as deep vein thrombosis.
Mitchell stated that a pro-clotting history of blood group A puts you at risk for stroke and other clotting-related diseases.
The analysis had one limitation: the lack of diversity among the participants. Most of them were European-ancestry. Researchers welcome further studies with a larger population.
Mitchell stated that “we all have different genetic variants and genetic variants often cluster within different ancestral groups.”
“We may miss some important variants if we only look at a small number of ancestry groups.”
The risk of developing other conditions is linked to blood type
Other research suggests that stroke risk is not limited to stroke.
Harvard School of Public Health scientists discovered that people with blood type A, B, or AB are at greater risk of coronary heart disease than those with blood type O.
The highest risk was for those with the rarest blood type (AB).
Studies have shown that stomach cancer is more common in people with type A than in those with different blood types.
It is worth noting that, although there has been some evidence of a link between certain blood types and certain health conditions (e.g., diabetes), we don’t yet know the causes.
How concerned should you be if you need to type A blood?
Mitchell says that a person cannot change their blood type. Other risk factors can be controlled, such as smoking habits, blood pressure, and alcohol use, as well as the amount of exercise.
Mitchell said, “I would suggest you don’t be concerned.” “I would concentrate on the other modifiable risk factors because they are not only risk factors of stroke, but also risk factors for heart disease, cancers, and so forth.”
A ‘great step’ in reducing stroke risk
Clare Jonas, a UK charity Stroke Association, commented on the findings. She said the results were a “great move” toward better monitoring risk factors for early stroke.
Jonas is Research Communications and Engagement Lead at Stroke Association. The organization provides support for stroke victims.
She stated that strokes in younger adults are not as well understood and, therefore, harder to prevent.
“We don’t know why people with blood type A may be at higher risk for early stroke.” We are unable to develop early stroke prevention strategies.
She said, “But, this research is an important step towards helping healthcare professionals determine who would benefit most from monitoring for other risk factors and being offered interventions that help reduce risk.”
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