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November 18, 2011

Your blood type may predict stroke risk

Daily Briefing

A simple blood test might predict which individuals are at higher risk for stroke, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's annual meeting.

For the study, Brigham and Women's Hospital researchers and colleagues examined data for 62,000 women and 28,000 men who participated in two observational studies and were followed for between 20 and 26 years.

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Overall, the researchers observed 2,901 cases of stroke. After adjusting for certain factors—including age, smoking status, and physical activity level—they found that:

  • Men and women with type AB blood had a 26% increased risk of stroke, compared with people with type O; 
  • Women—but not men—with type B blood had a 15% increased risk of stroke, compared with type O;
  • Type A blood was not linked to an increased stroke risk in either gender.

According to study author JoAnn Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, surface-level red blood cell proteins influence a person's blood type and immune system responses. Certain blood types may cause red cells to clump together or stick to blood vessel lining, increasing blood clot risk, the AP/Washington Post reports.

Duke University Medical Center researchers last month presented a similar study that found that blood type also may help predict risks for complications or death following a coronary artery bypass graft procedure (Marchione, AP/Post, 11/16; Paddock, Medical News Today, 11/17; Goodwin, HealthDay, 11/16).

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