Your risk of developing heart disease might hinge on your blood type, according to a new study.
Researchers have found that people with A, B, or AB blood types might be more likely to develop heart disease than people with type O, according to MedicalNewsToday. Despite this apparent link between one’s blood type and the development of heart disease, researchers said that fealty to a healthy lifestyle can make a difference and protect people who are at higher risk.
Lu Qi, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, authored the study, the findings of which are published online in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, a journal of the American Heart Association.
Qi and colleagues analyzed data from two comprehensive studies that followed adults over the course of 20 years. They found that people with AB blood type had a 23 percent increased risk of developing heart disease, while type B showed an 11 percent increased risk, and type A had a 5 precent increased risk. For the sake of context, the AB blood type is the rarest, occurring in roughly 7 percent of Americans. Type O is the most common, occurring in roughly half the population.
Qi says that although there’s no way to change your blood type, there are things that you can do to significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. Just as it is important to know your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, it is also important to know your blood type so that you can make healthy lifestyle choices accordingly.
“If you know you’re at higher risk, you can reduce the risk by adopting a healthier lifestyle, such as eating right, exercising and not smoking,” he explains.
Though Qi recommends further study, he says that health care providers can better tailor treatments with blood type knowledge in mind. For instance, people with more at-risk blood types can be advised to lower their cholesterol or exercise more in order to avoid developing heart disease.