According to new research, people who have blood types A, B, or AB have a slightly higher risk of heart disease compared to those with type O. A report is the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology found this association between blood type and increased risk of heart disease, but the relationship between the two was not specified.
Regardless, people who do have blood types A, B, AB can counter this genetic predisposition by living healthy lifestyles that include regular exercise and a balanced diet that reduces cholesterol intake, cardiologist in Dearborn MI said.
Approximately 7 percent of Americans have type AB, while about 43 percent have type O, the most common blood type, the researchers noted. To isolate the contribution of blood type to heart disease risk, researchers accounted for factors such as diet, age, weight, sex, race, smoking, menopause and medical history.
For the study, researchers collected data on more than 60,000 women who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study and more than 17,000 people in the Health Professional Follow-up Study. Participants, who were between 30 and 75 years old, were followed for more than 20 years.
The researchers found that people with type AB — the rarest blood type — had a 23 percent increased risk for heart disease compared to people with type O blood. The increased risk was 11 percent for people with blood type B, and 5 percent for those with type A.
The study participants were mostly white, so whether these findings apply to other racial groups isn’t known. Neither are the reasons for the increased risk associated with certain blood types.
There is evidence, however, suggesting type A is associated with higher levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), the so-called bad cholesterol, the researchers said.
Blood type may be related to cardiovascular risk in a variety of ways. Key factors involved in clotting are higher in non-O blood type individuals, and cholesterol levels also have been shown to vary by blood group. Inflammatory and immune responses also may differ by blood group, according to cardiologists in Michigan.