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The Most Common Blood Type: What It Means For Your Healthcare
While most are familiar with the basic set of (A, B, AB, and O) blood types, many are unaware of the potential healthcare struggles of having the most common blood type.
Not only can blood type affect risk levels for certain diseases, but it can also impact the availability of compatible blood if a transfusion is needed. In addition, knowing your blood type can help you make more informed lifestyle choices and can be helpful information if you should decide to donate. For these reasons, getting tested for your blood type is essential.
In this article, we’ll explore common and rare blood types and the impact that certain blood types have on your wellness and access to healthcare. We’ll also discuss why having a blood type compatible with the most common type may not be the advantage that you’d think.
What Are the Most Common (And the Most Rare) Blood Types?
The world’s most common type of blood is O+, also considered a universal donor. On the other hand, the rarest blood types are AB- and AB+.
The list below shows a complete breakdown of the different types and percentages of blood throughout the population.1
- O+ (35%)
- A+ (30%)
- O- (13%)
- A- (8%)
- B+ (8%)
- B- (2%)
- AB+ (2%)
- AB- (1%)
Looking at blood types through the lens of ethnicity can also be an important factor when it comes to general health. In the United States, the most common blood type percentages by ethnicity are as follows.2
- Latin American: O+ (53%), A+ (29%), B+ (9%)
- Asian: O+ (39%), A+ (27%), B+ (25%)
- African American: O+ (47%), A+ (24%), B+ (18%)
- Caucasian: O+ (37%), A+ (33%), B+ (9%)
How Does Blood Type Affect Healthcare?
According to the American Red Cross, universal donors are those with an O- blood type.2 People who are O- are considered potential “universal donors” since their blood can be used in almost any situation where a blood transfusion is necessary.
While it’s good news there’s a versatile blood type to be used in various situations, O- blood is only the 3rd most common type available, making it more challenging for blood banks to keep O- on hand. In addition, O+ blood is second-most in demand because most people (of all ethnicities) have O+ blood. When these blood types are in high demand, a lack of donations of the most popular blood types can hamper one’s ability to receive the blood they need.
Many studies have also drawn connections between increased health complications and certain blood types. This increased risk is usually attributed to the ABO gene, which is always present along with A, B, and AB blood types.3
Due to this gene, those with A, B, or AB blood types are at greater risk for cardiovascular problems such as coronary artery disease (CAD), heart disease, and heart attacks.4 In addition, studies have also associated this gene with a 21% higher likelihood of stomach cancer.5
Do You Know Your Blood Type?
While the health implications of blood type might seem overwhelming, this knowledge can be extremely helpful in maintaining good health. In addition, knowing your blood type and its risks can guide healthy lifestyle choices, preventative methods, and even prompt donation for those with universal blood.
Whether you’re looking to undergo surgery or have a local blood drive within the next couple of months, knowing your blood type can save your life and others. Are you interested in discovering your blood type? Invest in your long-term health today with Priority Lab Testing’s collection of blood tests, or contact our care counselors for more information.
“Blood types.” National Health Service. (n.d.) Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.blood.co.uk/why-give-blood/blood-types/.
“Facts About Blood and Blood Types.” American Red Cross. (n.d.) Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/blood-types.html.
Dean, Laura. “The ABO blood group.” in Blood Groups and Red Cell Antigens [Internet], edited by Belinda Beck. Bethesda (MD): National Center for Biotechnology Information (US); 2005. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2267/.
“Study reports links between blood types and disease risks.” eLife. Apr 27, 2021. https://elifesciences.org/for-the-press/7a378927/study-reports-links-between-blood-types-and-disease-risks.
“What Does Your Blood Type Have to Do With Your Health?.” Penn Medicine. (n.d.) Accessed June 6, 2022. https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2019/april/blood-types.