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Study shows the link between blood group and risk of stroke

Study shows the link between blood group and risk of stroke

Researchers from the University of Maryland found that blood group A is more predisposed to early-onset stroke before the age of 60 compared to other blood groups.
4 types of blood group in humans
Could blood group indicate the risk of stroke? | Representational Image| Shutterstock

A study published in Neurology found a link between blood groups and the risk of getting a stroke before the age of 60. The result indicates that among the four blood group types — A, B, AB, and O— people belonging to blood group A are at higher risk of an ischemic stroke before 60. The findings could open a new way to detect and prevent stroke in young adults. 

Ischemic stroke also called brain stroke, is caused by blood clots that disrupt the oxygen supply in the brain. The unavailability of specific indicators to detect a stroke makes it challenging for clinicians as several symptoms of cardiovascular conditions, seizures, and diabetes overlap with that of stroke. 

Read More- This headband detects onset of stroke in minutes 

Studies state that blood types A, B and AB are at an increased risk of blood clotting due to high levels of coagulation proteins such as factor VIII, fibrinogen, and von Willebrand factor.  Blood type O has a lower level of these coagulation proteins. 

Based on the studies, the researchers from the University of Maryland hypothesised that the blood groups could be an indicator of the risk factor for the early onset of stroke because when clotting proteins — mainly factor VIII — are in excess, the blood becomes thicker. This can lead to clots affecting the oxygen supply in the brain.  

What they did 

The researchers analysed the clinical data of 17,000 people with early onset of stroke and 600,000 healthy people with no history of stroke.  

At first, they identified those chromosomes in the collective data that carried the ischemic stroke gene. Then, they separated the data based on the blood group, after which they compared these two data categories to find if there was a relationship between the early onset of stroke genes and blood group type. 

The analysis revealed that blood type A had a 16 per cent increased risk of early-onset stroke as compared to the other three blood groups.  Whereas blood group B had higher chances of onset of stroke after 60. Conversely, blood type O had the least chance. 

Braxton D Mitchell, professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland and one of the lead investigators of the study, says they still do not know why blood type A had a higher risk of early-onset stroke. 

“We think that it could be due to the presence of higher coagulating proteins in blood group A that could increase the risk of blood coagulating without bleeding,” Dr Mitchell told Happiest Health. 

Even with the past evidence, the knowledge gap remains unclear as to why type A is predisposed with a high blood clotting risk, he adds. 

Dr K J Harsha, neuro interventionist at Brains-Brain-Spine Hospital in Bengaluru, says this study indicates the possible genetic cause of stroke. “It opens a way to identify and address other possible risk factors as epigenetic is more important in stroke than nature itself.” Epigenetic is the collective changes in how genes work due to environmental triggers and factors. 

“We also need to see this study with caution as even though people with O blood type are at a lesser risk of stroke compared to type A, even these people should be subjected to preventive and healthy lifestyle advices,” he adds. 

Furthermore, Dr Mitchell’s team plans to identify the effect of lifestyle factors on the blood type A gene linked with the risk of stroke. 

Share Your Experience/Comments

3 Responses

  1. Good read. It will certainly lead to more precaution by A group individuals. More study should must be done on prevention side.

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