If you have blood type AB, about 4% of the total population do, new research holds a warning for you – you may also have a higher risk of memory problems as you get older. A recent study published online in the journal Neurology found that over nearly three years, those with this blood type were almost two times as likely to show memory issues as those who had type O blood, which is the most common blood type. If you have AB blood, don’t panic, there may be other factors that play a bigger part in your risk for mental impairment than your blood type. Plus the association was small, and needs more work to be confirmed.
For the research, the team gave 30,000-plus subjects over 45 years old a series of memory and thinking tests, and then repeated the tests just about three years later. From this group, there were 495 who scored low enough to fall in the range of having some memory or thinking issues. Their blood types were compared to those of 587 subjects who had normal testing scores. After adjusting for age, race, sex and geography, those who had type AB blood were 82% more likely to have impaired cognitive skills than those who had type O blood.
These findings might not be all that startling based on some other recent work. It’s already known that the AB blood type can impact how your blood clots, and ups the risk of blood vessel related conditions. Researchers earlier in 2014 found that the AB blood type was also associated with a higher risk of debilitating stroke.
At least half the association between stroke and the blood type was related to higher amounts of clotting Factor VIII, a protein in the blood that helps it to stop bleeding. If you have hemophilia, you are deficient in Factor VIII, and if you have too much, your blood forms clots too easily and this can lead to heart attack, stroke or large clots that clog veins.
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Rare Blood Type And Dementia Risk Continued…
In the most recent work, only about 20% of the link between memory problems and type AB blood could be accounted for by the higher levels of Factor VIII. This suggests other reasons for the link, reasons research has yet to identify. Perhaps, the association between type AB blood and vascular issues (stroke and dementia share several risk factors) that research has yet to understand. Interesting that those in the study who had memory and thinking issues were also more apt to smoke and have high blood pressure, conditions like diabetes, heart disease or high cholesterol.
The risk of dementia is much, much higher when connected to other lifestyle factors, such as smoking, not being active, being obese and making unhealthy lifestyle choices. If you’re worried about your own dementia risk, make healthy lifestyle choices now to lower that risk, no matter what type blood you have.
The most important message to take from the work is not worry about what type of blood you have, but instead focus on achieving a healthy lifestyle. Don’t smoke. Exercise regularly and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Also be sure to keep up with your preventive care and screenings, as these are your best weapon to identify something before it takes hold.
Remember too, that to keep your brain healthy and strong going forward, you need to exercise it. Read, play games, engage with others… do something that you find mentally stimulating and you’ll go a long way toward keeping your thinking sharp and your memories clear.
To your good health,