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Blood Type May Affect Heart Attack Risk

January 12, 2012

The risk of heart attack varies from one individual to another. Two people who lead a healthy lifestyle may not have the same level of protection against heart attack, because they have different genetic makeup. Since your blood type is part of your genetic makeup, it can affect your chances of having a heart attack.

Blood type and link to heart attackAccording to a study published in The Lancet, people who have type O blood, which is the most common blood type, seem to be less vulnerable to heart attack. The study compared about 13,000 European people who were suffering from coronary artery disease with about 7,400 Europeans who did not have the condition.

In an attempt to identify the specific genes that may contribute to heart attack, researchers also compared about 5,800 heart disease patients who had prior experience of heart attack to about 3,600 patients who did not. They discovered that a gene called ADAMTS7 may be responsible for increasing coronary heart disease risk, as well as another gene, which is found in people with type O blood, that provides protection against heart attack.

Your blood type is determined by the type of antigens that are found on the surface of your red blood cells. These antigens are actually proteins, and they dictate the pattern of immune system responses that forms in your early life. The red blood cells in people with certain blood types have a higher tendency to clump together and attach themselves to the lining of blood vessels, resulting in blood clots. Blood clots can prevent blood from reaching your heart and trigger a heart attack.

Although blood type can affect your chances of getting a heart attack, it is not a major risk factor. Even if you have type O blood, it is still necessary for you to lead a healthy lifestyle to protect yourself against heart disease.