Diabetes risk involves different factors. Now, French researchers are saying that blood type should be one of them, suggesting that certain blood types carry more risk than others.
Published in the journal Diabetologia, the study carried out by researchers from the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health in Villejuif, France involved an analysis of data from over 82,000 French women gathered from 1990 to 2008.
Not factoring in more specific blood types determined by the Rh factor, the researchers found that those with type A blood are 10 percent likelier to develop diabetes than their type O counterparts, while those with type B blood have at least 20 percent greater risk. The risk profile for those with type AB blood was inconclusive.
Analyzing risk profiles by taking into consideration just the Rh factor showed that risks were the same for subjects. Being Rh positive or negative had no effect on the kind of diabetes risk a woman had.
Combine blood types and Rh factors and results changed.
According to findings, women with blood type B positive are 35 percent likelier to develop type 2 diabetes compared to women who are blood type O negative. Those who are A positive are 17 percent likelier to develop type 2 diabetes than women who are O negative while A negative women have 22 percent greater risk than those who are O negative. Those with AB positive blood types, on the other hand, have to deal with 26 percent higher diabetes risk.
Researchers were not able to explain the association between blood types and diabetes risk, which highlighted the importance of further study, but they said that the results of their findings may apply as well to men since nothing in the study was gender-specific.
Chief medical and scientific officer for the American Diabetes Association Dr. Robert Ratner, however, is not convinced.
With the study spanning 18 years, only around 3,500 diabetes cases were identified from the 82,000 subjects. Ratner considers that number too low given what is already known about diabetes. He also added that the study didn't prove anything new. As there are better ways of identifying risk, diabetes screening based on blood types will not be officially adopted.
In the United States alone, 29.1 million people had diabetes. That was 9.3 percent of the population at the time. There were 1.7 million new cases as well for that year. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the country.