Stroke is a disease caused by a disturbance of blood flow to the brain. There are many factors that can lead to a stroke, including hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and obesity – and it turns out that your blood type is one of those factors. People with AB and women with B were more likely to suffer from stroke than people with O type blood, a new research suggests.
The study was led by Brigham’s Dr. Lu Qi and was presented at an American Heart Association conference. It involved 90,000 men and women in two observational studies that have gone on for more than twenty years.
Looking at the 2,901 strokes that have occurred during that time and taking high blood pressure and other stroke risk factors into account, researchers found that women with B type blood had a 15% higher risk of stroke compared to women with O type, while men and women with type AB blood had a 26% greater risk compared to those with type O blood.
Dr. JoAnn Manson, one of the study leaders and chief of preventive medicine at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said that one reason stroke risk may be higher among those with non-O blood types is because these blood types are more prone to blood clots, the cause of most strokes.
She explained that the link between blood type and stroke is not at the level that should alarm people, but it could be one reason for them to always keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check.
“It’s not at the level where we want to alarm people and we want to make that clear. But it’s one more element of risk that people would want to know about, and it could give them one more reason to keep blood pressure and cholesterol in line.”
“You can’t change it, and we don’t know if it’s the blood type per se or other genes that track with it” that actually confers risk, said Dr. Larry Goldstein, director of Duke University’s stroke center.
Although a person’s blood type can’t be changed, but knowing this information may help identify the risk of stroke. People with the higher risk blood types have their other risk factors assessed so they know their overall risk profile, and furthermore they may follow healthy lifestyle recommendations through an intensive exercise and healthy diet.