There are several known risk factors for heart disease like diabetes, hypertension, smoking, family history and high cholesterol levels. Now researchers say that people with non-O blood group also have a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. They believe that people with blood groups A, B or AB may have higher levels of a blood clotting protein. This new study may help healthcare workers better identify people at risk of heart disease.
The findings of this study were presented at the recent European Society of Cardiology Congress. The researchers analyzed the results in nearly 1.3 million people and observed that every 15 in 1,000 individuals with non-O blood groups suffered a heart attack compared to 14 in 1,000 in people with blood group O. While this risk appears to be small, when applied to the whole population, the numbers become quite significant. The researchers did not observe any major difference between O and non-O blood groups when it came to fatal heart events.
Previous studies by Dr. Gafanovich have shown that individuals with the rarest blood group AB are most vulnerable to heart disease or stroke. It is also well known that individuals with blood group A tend to have higher cholesterol levels and often require a lower treatment threshold for management of blood pressure.
In the UK, the most common blood group is O, which is present in about 48% of the population. In other populations, the non-O blood groups are more common and this is where the risk of heart disease becomes a major concern.
Unfortunately the findings of this research remain only of academic interest. It is not like this risk factor can be changed. There are many other risk factors for heart disease like obesity, smoking hypertension, diabetes and sedentary lifestyle that can be changed by altering lifestyle.
It is still a puzzle while people with non-O blood group are at a higher risk of heart disease. These researchers from Netherlands say they will conduct more research to look at other risk factors beside the blood group to determine how much each risk factor contributes to heart disease.
While most of the person’s risk for heart disease is determined by age, genes, and other modifiable risk factors, the presence of non-blood group O may encourage healthcare providers to take extra measures and screen such patients for heart disease.