Does Blood Type Affect Your Risk of Stroke?

illustration of the different blood types

When it comes to blood types, there are four main categories within the ABO group: A, B, O, and AB. Within these groups are eight more blood types, with type O being the most common and AB negative being the rarest.

Do some of these affect stroke risk more than others? The best answer right now is maybe.

A recent press release drew attention to a research study that focused on whether blood type could be linked to stroke risk before age 60. In this study, researchers scoured all chromosomes to identify genetic variants associated with stroke and which blood types have a higher risk of early stroke.

While these types of studies are important and provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about our risk, sensational internet headlines can cause people to become prematurely concerned about certain factors beyond their control. This is especially true when you consider that we inherit our blood type from our parents.

Blood group and stroke risk

“There are many nuances and variables to consider when interpreting such research studies,” says Marco Gonzalez Castellon, MD, a Nebraska Medicine neurologist. “While this study suggests that having type A blood is a possible risk factor for early stroke, suggesting a small 16% chance of higher risk, the study has its limitations.”

While this research may point us in the right direction to build on for future research, it provides more clues than answers.

Most experts consider age 45 as the measure of early stroke, while this study defines early stroke as before age 60. family history and more.

“This study is important, but it comes down to math,” adds Dr. Gonzalez Castellon. is of a disease.”

In other words, research results may show possible correlation, but not causation. More research is needed to understand the link between blood type and stroke risk.

Other health factors outweigh blood type when considering stroke risk

While blood type may contribute to stroke risk, it is not the main concern. The degree of association is much higher with certain health conditions and lifestyle factors.

“When it comes to stroke, by far the biggest risk factor is uncontrolled high blood pressure,” says Dr. Gonzales Castellon. “A history of smoking and uncontrolled diabetes are two other big risk factors. Your blood type will not protect you from the effects of these conditions or lifestyle choices.”

Stroke Prevention: You can’t control your blood type, but you can control other aspects of your health

According to the American Stroke Association, nearly 80% of strokes are preventable. The most effective way to reduce your risk is to adopt a healthy lifestyle now.

Practice a healthy lifestyle

  • Choose healthy food and drinks. Avoid saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, sugar and high sodium foods
  • Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
  • Move more and sit less. Regular exercise can help keep other health problems at bay
  • Do not smoke or stop smoking. Cigarette smoking damages the heart and blood vessels and raises blood pressure
  • Limit the intake of alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can increase blood pressure and increase triglyceride levels
  • Reduce stress levels. Stress can contribute to unhealthy behaviors such as overeating, lack of activity and smoking
  • Check cholesterol and blood pressure levels regularly
  • Keep up with your regular doctor checkups

Manage chronic conditions with your healthcare team

  • Manage diabetes and manage it by following your doctor’s recommendations
  • Monitor and control high blood pressure
  • Treat heart conditions such as coronary artery disease or atrial fibrillation
  • Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor

Get more facts about stroke and learn about the signs and symptoms.

Are you concerned about your stroke risk?

Telephone call 800.922.0000 to make an appointment today.

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