A stroke is a medical emergency—blood flow to the brain has been interrupted, either by a blood clot or bleeding. When this happens, oxygen-starved brain cells begin to die, which can result in long-term disability or death.
According to recent research, people with certain blood types may have a higher or lower risk of experiencing a stroke before the age of 60.
What is Early-Onset Stroke?
Strokes can happen at any age, but they are more common in older adults. Early-onset stroke, defined as a stroke that occurs before the age of 60, is less common but often more severe.
The causes of early-onset stroke can be different from those of stroke in older adults, and identifying these causes is important for developing effective treatments and preventive measures.
Blood Types and Stroke Risk
Blood types are determined by the presence of specific antigen proteins on the surface of red blood cells. There are four basic blood types: A, B, AB, and O.
Your blood type is inherited from your parents and is determined by the combination of genes you receive from them.
Recent studies have shown that certain blood types may be associated with an increased or decreased risk of early-onset stroke.
Blood Type A and B and Risk of Early-Onset Stroke
According to a study recently published in the journal Neurology, people with blood types A and B may have a higher risk of experiencing an early-onset stroke. The study analyzed genome-wide association studies of early-onset stroke in more than 16,000 cases and 599,000 non-stroke controls.
The researchers found that blood types A and B were associated with an increased risk of thromboembolic events, a type of stroke caused by a blood clot. People with blood type A or B had up to 1.56 times higher odds of experiencing a thromboembolic event compared to people with blood type O.
People with blood type O were found to have a reduced risk of early-onset stroke. This aligns with previous studies that found blood type O to have a lower risk of thromboembolic events and other health issues compared to those with blood types A or B.
What Can You Do to Reduce Your Risk?
While you can’t change your blood type, these new insights may provide some indication that certain individuals may need to be more closely monitored and screened for cardiovascular disease.
There are also a few things you can do to reduce your risk of early-onset stroke. The most important step is to maintain a healthy lifestyle by:
- exercising regularly
- eating a healthy diet
- avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption
- managing high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Talk to your doctor about the risk factors for stroke and other health conditions, and what you can do to improve your health and reduce the chances of experiencing a potentially life-threatening illness.