Your Blood Type Could Contribute to Your Risk for Developing Dementia

You may have thought your blood type was only important if you were planning to donate blood or had to receive donated blood yourself. However, researchers are discovering more and more ways our blood types contribute to our health and who we are.

For example, you might be surprised to learn that mosquitoes are most attracted to O blood types and least attracted to A blood types. There’s also the Ketsueki-Gata Personality theory, which predicts different personality types for each blood type. And, of course, there is a wide variety of health conditions that certain people seem to be more or less likely to develop based on their blood type. Most recently, researchers have found a link between blood type and an individual’s chances of getting dementia later in life.

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Which Blood Type Carries the Greatest Risk?

As it turns out, people with AB blood types are actually at the greatest overall risk for developing dementia as they age.

According to a study published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, “People with blood type AB may be more likely to develop memory loss in later years than people with other blood types […] People with AB blood were 82 percent more likely to develop the thinking and memory problems that can lead to dementia than people with other blood types.”

Luckily, AB is also the most uncommon blood type, occurring in just four percent of the U.S. population, according to the AAN.

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Why Does Blood Type Influence Dementia?

There may be a whole host of reasons that a person’s blood type affects their risk of developing dementia, but one reason researchers have discovered is something called Factor VIII, which affects blood clotting and varies by blood type.

“Researchers also looked at blood levels of factor VIII, a protein that helps blood to clot. High levels of factor VIII are related to a higher risk of cognitive impairment and dementia,” says the AAN. “People in this study with higher levels of factor VIII were 24 percent more likely to develop thinking and memory problems than people with lower levels of the protein. People with AB blood had a higher average level of factor VIII than people with other blood types.”

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Which Blood Type Has the Lowest Risk?

The lucky ones in this case turn out to be those with type O blood.

According to the AAN, “Previous studies have shown that people with type O blood have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, factors that can increase the risk of memory loss and dementia.”

O blood types are also less likely to develop pancreatic cancer and malaria, but they’re more likely to get ulcers or rupture an Achilles tendon. There are positives and negatives to each blood type.

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What Can I Do To Mitigate My Risk?

Of course, blood type is far from being the only factor that impacts a person’s risk for developing dementia. There are also several gene variants that play a role, as well as a whole host of lifestyle factors to consider.

“If you were to do the same study and look at smoking, lack of exercise, obesity, and other lifestyle factors, the risk of dementia is much, much higher,” says Dr. Terence Quinn, a clinical lecturer in stroke and geriatric medicine. “People who are worried about dementia, whether they have that blood group or not, should look at making those lifestyle changes.”

So making healthy choices in your diet, workout habits, and brain training can make a big difference in your chances of developing dementia. Don’t let your blood type hold you back from living a great life!

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