The CDC doesn’t mince words: Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in America for both men and women. There are proven ways to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, especially when it comes to diet and lifestyle. When it comes to genetics, that’s a different story.
According to the World Heart Federation, having a first-degree relative who has suffered a heart attack or stroke, is diabetic, or has high blood pressure or high cholesterol increases your own risk of cardiovascular disease. Now a new study is adding your blood type to the list of irreversible risk factors that affect your heart health. The blood groups at risk? A, B, and AB.
Researchers at the University Medical Centre Groningen in the Netherlands analyzed data from more than 1.3 million people, looking at their blood types and any incidents of cardiovascular events, including heart attack, heart failure, and death. They found that individuals with a non-O blood group had a 9 percent greater risk of cardiovascular events, especially heart attacks, than those with an O blood type.
There’s no clear explanation about why this link exists, and further studies needs to be conducted to find that answer. The researchers suggest one reason could be that people with non-O blood types have higher concentrations of von Willebrand factor, a blood-clotting protein that could lead to heart attack or stroke. Non-O blood groups are also known to have high cholesterol, especially those with blood type A.
If you don’t have an O blood type, talk to your doctor about how that could impact your risk for a heart attack. In the meantime, evaluate your lifestyle for any surprising heart attack risks that could be making your odds even worse.