A person’s blood type may have an effect on his or her chances of getting a heart attack, new research suggests.
Researchers from the Netherlands have found that people who are not in the O blood group – meaning blood types A, B and AB – may have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular problems, particularly heart attacks, Medical News Today reports.
Tessa Kole of the University Medical Centre Groningen, lead author on the study, states that these findings mean that healthcare experts should consider a patient’s blood type when evaluating the risk for cardiovascular events.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some 735,000 Americans have a heart attack, or myocardial infarction, annually. Risk factors for heart attacks include a poor diet, smoking, and a lack of physical activity. These are all controllable.
However, some factors such as age, gender, and family history of heart problems can’t be changed. Now, it appears blood type should be added to the list.
Kole and a team of researchers conducted a meta-analysis of studies that recorded participants’ blood types and frequency of cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks, heart failure, heart disease and death. Over 1.3 million adults took part in the nine studies included in this research.
The scientists used the data to assess how blood groups affected what they call coronary events, combined cardiovascular events, and fatal coronary events.
In their analysis of all coronary events, they identified 771,113 people in non-O blood groups, and 519,743 people in the O blood group. Among those who did not have an O blood type, 1.5% or 11,437 suffered a coronary event, while 1.4% or 7,220 of those with O blood types experienced the same.
In combined cardiovascular events, out of 708,276 people in the non-O blood group, 2.5% or 17,449 suffered a cardiovascular event. Of the 476,868 in the O blood group, 2.3% or 10,916 people experienced the same.
We demonstrate that having a non-O blood group is associated with a 9 percent increased risk of coronary events and a 9 percent increased risk of cardiovascular events, especially myocardial infarction.
While the exact reasons for this difference is yet unclear, the researchers noted that people with non-O blood types have higher levels of a blood-clotting protein called Von Willebrand factor, which has been linked to coronary problems. In addition, individuals in the non-O blood group tend to have higher cholesterol levels, as well.
Further research is necessary, Kole says, to determine the exact cause for this increase in cardiovascular risks.
The study was presented at Heart Failure 2017 in Paris, France, a yearly meeting of the European Society of Cardiology.