A person's blood type may have impact on his or her heart health. Findings of a new study suggest that individuals with a non-O blood group may have a higher risk for heart attack and stroke.

Blood Type And Risk For Heart Disease

Study researcher Tessa Kole, of the University Medical Centre Groningen in the Netherlands, and colleagues said that the association could be attributed to people with A, B, and AB blood type having higher levels of a blood-clotting protein.

The findings of the study may help doctors gain a better understanding of who are at risk of developing heart disease. Researchers also said that the findings suggest that doctors should take into account a person's blood type when evaluating cardiovascular risk.

For the new study presented at Heart Failure 2017, this year's meeting of the European Society of Cardiology held in Paris, the researchers conducted a meta-analysis of studies that included the blood type of participants and incidence of cardiovascular events.

The researchers found that in their sample of more than 1.3 million subjects, 1.5 percent of those with non-O blood type and 1.4 percent of those with O blood type suffered from coronary disease. In an analysis involving nearly 1.2 million subjects, they also found that 2.5 percent of those with non-O blood type and 2.3 percent of those with O blood type had a cardiovascular event.

"We demonstrate that having a non-O blood group is associated with a 9% increased risk of coronary events and a 9% increased risk of cardiovascular events, especially myocardial infarction," Kole said.

Individuals with non-O blood type have higher levels of the blood-clotting protein known as Von Willebrand factor, and this could help explain the link between blood type and risk for heart attack or stroke. The protein has already been associated with blood clot-related events, which include stroke. People with non-O blood type also have higher level of the molecule called galectin-3, which has been associated with inflammation.

Reducing Odds For Cardiovascular Diseases

Unfortunately, a person's blood type is something that can't be controlled since this is determined by the genes that are inherited from the parents. Experts, however, said that there are still ways to reduce a person's risk for heart disease.

"People with a non-O blood group type — AO, BO, and AB — need to take the same steps as anyone wanting to reduce their CVD risk," said Mike Knapton, of the British Heart Foundation. "That includes taking sensible steps to improve their diet, weight, level of physical activity and not smoking, and where needed, manage blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes."

Other Indicators Of Higher Heart Disease Risk

Other studies have also found other indicators of a person's risk for heart disease. Individuals with more white hair, for instance, were found to have higher risk for coronary artery disease that is independent of the person's age and other cardiovascular factors. Among women, early menopause may also mean higher odds for heart disease and even early death.

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