People with blood type A are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease and prone to having heart attacks, according to results of a study by Taiwanese researchers at the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital.
The study was conducted on 277 Taiwanese adults (men younger than 45 years and women younger than 55 years), who underwent coronary angiography (X-ray imaging of coronary arteries) at the hospital between 2005 and 2008.
According to the study, patients with blood type A had a significantly greater risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) and myocardial infarction (MI), also known as heart attacks, than individuals who do not have type A blood.
The result is in accordance with findings from medical teams in Europe and North America, which indicate similar risks for certain blood types, despite the different ethnic and genetic backgrounds.
The findings were announced earlier in an article titled “Association of Blood Group A with Coronary Artery Disease in Young Adults in Taiwan” in Volume 15 No. 14 of the Internal Medicine Journal, a publication from the Japanese Society of Internal Medicine.
For young Taiwanese adults, the study found there was a significantly different distribution for those with cardiovascular diseases (O: 30.1 percent, A: 39.7 percent, B: 26.5 percent and AB: 3.7 percent), than the control population (O: 42.6 percent, A: 24.0 percent, B: 27.1 percent and AB: 6.2 percent).
According to the findings, people with blood type A are at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack than those with non-A blood groups.
Even after adjustments for common cardiovascular risk factors, such as age, gender, hypertension, cigarette smoking, diabetes, body mass index, family history and lipid profiles, the study found people with blood type A were still at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
Chiu Tsung-chieh (邱宗傑), head of Division of Transfusion Medicine at Taipei Veterans General Hospital, said other international studies had found that people with blood type A were at a greater risk of developing stomach cancer.
He said the studies still require further research, but that the statistics are revealing.
Ho Yi-cheng (何一成), family practitioner at Shu Tien Clinic in Taipei, said that blood groups differ by the antigens in the red blood cells. For example, people with blood type A have have A antigens in their red blood cells, while people with blood type B have B antigens.
“Those people with both A and B antigens are part of the AB blood group. Those people who do not have either A or B antigens are in the blood group O,” he said.
The study’s findings are a good reminder for individuals with blood type A to take preventive measures against the onset of cardiovascular disease.
Doctors recommend reducing the intake of fatty foods, eating more fruit and vegetables, taking regular exercise and avoiding smoking.
In addition, people with blood type A who already suffer from hypertension or diabetes or who smoke or are overweight, should seek medical advice and be proactive in making lifestyle adjustments, doctors said.
The different characteristics of the various blood groups have been published in medical journals.
Studies have shown that O type blood does not coagulate as easily as other blood groups, thus people with blood type O should not regularly take aspirin, ginkgo biloba pills or other anti-blood clotting medicine.
People with blood type A could be at a higher risk of heart attacks because of the naturally higher fat content in their blood, and also their naturally higher cholesterol level, 4mg per decilitre higher, compared with other blood groups, doctors said.
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