Blood Type Tied to Stroke Risk

By: Alere Staff
Publication Date: Tue, 05/01/2012

Do you know your blood type? Researchers have discovered that among the four blood types: O, A, B, AB - one carries a higher risk for stroke. The most common blood type is O followed by A, B and AB. While AB is the rarest, it has been linked to the highest risk of stroke in people with AB blood type. In fact, a study found a 26% increase in risk of stroke for both men and women with AB blood type over those with type O blood.1  The study was presented at the 2011 American Heart Association international meeting.

In addition to type AB increasing the risk of stroke, B blood type in women showed a 15% increase in stroke over men.1 The traditional factors with a role in stroke risk were adjusted for including: age, smoking, body mass index (BMI), alcohol intake, physical activity, aspirin use, ethnicity, family history of coronary heart disease, history of hypertension and high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes, menopausal status, and postmenopausal hormone use.

There was an increase in ischemic stroke (stroke caused by blockage of a vessel) over a hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in the brain) in the blood type study. The important question following a study like this is what to do with this information considering no one can change their blood type. The answer lies in controlling the risk factors within your control: stop smoking, manage your weight and take medications prescribed for you exactly as they are prescribed. If you take warfarin for stroke prevention – keep all blood test appointments or, better yet – become a patient self-tester and check your warfarin blood levels in the privacy of your home.

  1. Qi L, et al. ABO blood group and risk of stroke in US men and women. AHA 2011. Abstract 16887.