Everyone should know their blood type, especially since it’s easy to determine through a routine blood test. Health care professionals will need to know it in case of an accident, surgery, emergency, or if you’re donating blood to ensure any necessary blood transfusions have the best chance of success. Use the guide below to learn about the different blood types, how they’re determined, and why it’s so important in the medical field.
How Knowing Your Blood Type Will Help You
An Overview of the Different Blood Types
Your blood type is inherited from your parents. There are eight varieties: A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+, AB-, O+, and O-. Blood tests will check for the presence of antigens (A and B) and the Rhesus protein (also called the Rh factor) in red blood cells. If the Rhesus protein is present, your blood type is positive; if not, your blood type is negative. The A and B antigens determine into which category you’ll fall (A if A is present, B if B is present, AB if both are present, or O if neither are present).
Of the standard group, O+ blood is the most common blood type and AB- is the least. In rare instances, antigens besides A and B can be present, causing blood types that are limited to certain populations, such as the U- type in African-Americans.
Why Your Blood Type Is So Important
Having blood tests to determine your type is important for two reasons: the ramifications it has on your health care, and the positive impact it could have on others.
Blood transfusions save lives, and while they’re generally safe, the risk of complications – such as hives, fever, chills, or the immune system rejecting the new blood – increase if incompatible blood is given. There are thus complex rules around acceptable transfusion combinations. Type O- blood is the universal donor, meaning it can safely be given to patients of any blood type in emergencies. Patients can only receive blood that matches their antigens. Plus, negative blood types can only receive negative blood transfusions, while positive types can receive both negative and positive transfusions. Knowing your blood type will help ensure you receive the right kind.
It’s also important to know your blood type because some are associated with elevated risk for certain diseases. Group A, for instance, carries a slightly higher rate of stomach cancer. If you know the dangers, you can talk to your doctor and make lifestyle changes to mitigate your risk.
If you need to determine your blood type, Rochester Regional Health Laboratories offers accurate and safe blood tests. Serving Monroe County, NY, since 1975, they perform sample testing and screenings around the clock so you’ll receive rapid results. Aided by advanced technology, their skilled team offers comprehensive screening and testing services beyond blood tests, including toxicology reports, pathology tests, and cancer screenings. Learn more about their laboratory services online. Call (800) 525-5227 to schedule an appointment today.