3 Reasons Why You Should Know Your Blood Type (and How to Find Out)
Knowing your own blood type is one of those things that are simply expected of us as adults…but a poll of your friends and family will likely prove that many of them don’t know about this simple biological trait.
However, knowing your own blood type—and the blood types of your children and family—can be extremely important. Our blood type can give us valuable information about our health and bodies, and knowing it can even mean the difference between life and death. Here are a few reasons why you should have your blood info readily available, and how to learn your blood type if you don’t know it already.
1. Learn the Risks of Your Blood Type
Studies are ongoing, but scientists have been trying to make connections between different blood types and an increased risk for certain diseases. For example, people with type O blood have been shown to possess the lowest risk of heart disease across the board, while types AB, A, and B are at an increased risk for blood clots. In addition, people with type A blood were shown to be at a higher risk for stomach cancer, and they also carry higher levels of cortisol, known as “the stress hormone.”
2. Learn How Common Your Blood Type Is
If you’d like to help others through donation, it’s important to know your blood type. After emergency events and natural disasters, organizations may seek specific types of blood, so it’s great to know if and when you’ll be able to help others—and save lives—through donation.
In particular, it’s worth knowing if you have O- blood. This blood type is known as the “universal donor” type, because people with O- blood can typically give red blood cells to almost anyone else.
On the other hand, if you’re in an emergency situation, it’s crucial to know your own blood type. This allows you to tell medical professionals in advance and save valuable time—especially because getting a transfusion of the wrong type of blood can be life-threatening.
In addition, knowing your blood type is especially important if you have a rare blood type. While most hospitals have access to an array of blood types, it can take hours or even days (depending on the rarity) for some hospitals to get the type of blood you need.
Of course, if you have a common blood type, this is helpful to know as well. For example, AB+ is known as the “universal recipient” blood type, as people with this type of blood can receive all types of blood.
3. Learn About Pregnancy Risks
If you’re a woman who is pregnant, or who is planning to become present in the near future, you’ll want to know more than your overall type (A, B, AB, or O). You should also learn whether you have a positive or negative blood type in terms of Rh factor, a type of protein on the surface of your red blood cells.
If your Rh blood type is negative and your baby’s is positive, your body might act as though it is allergic to your baby, meaning that you might essentially begin to attack your baby’s blood. Luckily, knowing about this possibility in advance can help you make informed decisions about your pregnancy.
How to Find Out Your Blood Type
Schedule an appointment with your regular GP and request a blood test. You can also order an at-home test, or you can donate blood, as the specialists will be able to tell you your blood type. Likewise, if you’re getting a blood test from a medical professional with Blood on the Go, we’ll be happy to talk to you about your blood type and what it might mean for your health.