Blood type affects stroke risk: study | Inquirer Technology

Stroke risk depends on blood type: study

08:00 AM January 12, 2024

Researchers discovered people with one of the type A blood groups are more likely to have a stroke before the age of 60 compared with people with other blood types. Specifically, those with an A1 blood mutation have a 16% higher chance than others. However, scientists are still examining the exact cause of this correlation. 

It may seem that such information is useless because it doesn’t point us to a specific cause. However, detecting such patterns is an important first step for health researchers. It lets them know which patterns to study to get closer to a solution. More importantly, this insight might encourage you to get a checkup and improve your health.

This article will discuss how researchers connected blood type with stroke risk. Later, I will share other recent discoveries about the human body.


How does blood type relate to stroke risk?

Blood type and stroke relationship

In 2022, genomics researchers found a clear relationship between the gene for the A1 subgroup and early onset stroke. Most know we have four blood types: A, B, AB, and O.


However, there are subtle variations that come from gene mutations. Researchers compiled data from 48 genetic studies, which included roughly 600,000 non-stroke controls and 17,000 people with a stroke. 

They chose volunteers between 18 and 59 years of age for consistent results. A genome-wide search revealed two spots strongly associated with an earlier risk of stroke.

Then, a second analysis looked for more details on specific blood-type genes. People whose genome coded for a variation of the A group had a 16% higher stroke risk before age 60 than other blood types.

On the other hand, those in the O1 group had a 12% lower risk. The researchers reminded people that the additional risk with type A is minuscule.

They do not need extra precautions or examinations to prevent this illness. Less than 800,000 experience a stroke in the United States yearly. 

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Around three out of every four instances occur in people 65 and older, with risks doubling every decade after age 55. Also, non-Europeans only comprised 35% of the participants, and the rest lived in North America, Europe, Japan, Australia, and Pakistan.

“We still don’t know why blood type A would confer a higher risk,” said senior author Steven Kittner from the University of Maryland. 

“But it likely has something to do with blood-clotting factors like platelets and cells that line the blood vessels as well as other circulating proteins, all of which play a role in the development of blood clots. We clearly need more follow-up studies to clarify the mechanisms of increased stroke risk.”

Other health discoveries

Health discoveries related to blood type

Scientists recently uncovered a connection between viruses and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. They learned about this relationship after they analyzed the medical records of roughly 50,000 Finns with six different types of brain conditions. 

They contrasted them with a control group of 310,000 who did not have a brain disease. Their analysis found 45 links between viral exposure and these illnesses. 

Later, they narrowed these links to 22 out of 100,000 from a UK Biobank record. The experts discovered those who had brain inflammation called viral encephalitis were 31 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. 

In other words, 24 out of 406 viral encephalitis contracted the disease, roughly 6% of that group. Those who went to the hospital due to pneumonia were also more susceptible to various conditions after catching the flu. 

These included Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). They linked intestinal infections, meningitis, and the varicella-zoster virus to cause such illnesses. 

Their impact on the brain persisted for up to 15 years in some cases. In 2022, a study of more than 10 million people linked the Epstein-Barr virus with a 32-fold increased risk of multiple sclerosis. Senior author Micheal Nalls gained unique insight from this research: 

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“After reading [this] study, we realized that, for years, scientists have been searching, one by one, for links between an individual neurodegenerative disorder and a specific virus.”

“That’s when we decided to try a different, more data science-based approach. By using medical records, we were able to systematically search for all possible links in one shot,” Nalls added. 

“Although vaccines do not prevent all cases of illness, they are known to dramatically reduce hospitalization rates. This evidence suggests that vaccination may mitigate some risk of developing neurodegenerative disease.”


Those with type A1 blood have a 16% increased risk of having a stroke. However, scientists say this uptick is negligible, so type A people can relax.

They realized they would need a more diverse sample in future studies to help clarify the significance of the results. As a result, they could pinpoint the exact factor that links blood type to stroke risk.

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