Do you not know your blood type? Don’t worry; more than half of Americans don’t know theirs either. Even if you don’t like blood or needles, it is essential to know your blood type for many reasons, such as your health and the well-being of others. In addition, humans have four main blood groups, and giving the correct blood to a patient during a transfusion is extremely important to minimize reactions and avoid any catastrophic consequences.
What makes blood types different from each other?
Blood contains white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets, but blood also contains antigens as part of the immune system. Blood antigens are sugars or proteins covering the surface of the red blood cells. These antigens, along with other factors, define to which blood type you belong. This information is essential when you receive a blood transfusion. Giving an incompatible blood type to a patient can cause intravenous clumping in the patient’s blood, which can be fatal. Their body can start producing antibodies to attack the antigens on the cells in the new blood, causing reaction and rejection.
The four blood types
There are four blood groups: A, B, AB, and O, which refer to the presence or absence of different antigens (A and B) in red blood cells. For example, A antigen is present in blood group A, while blood group B means it has the B antigen. Likewise, the blood group AB has both the A and B antigens, but blood group O has neither. The Rhesus factor, or Rh, is positive or negative.
Those with O-negative blood are considered universal donors, meaning anyone can receive O-negative blood.
Why should you know your blood type?
One of the most selfless reasons to know your blood type is to help others. Medical facilities always need blood donations, whether you are O or A.
An equally significant reason to know your blood type is for emergencies. If you require a blood transfusion, you’ll need compatible blood. A transfusion with an incompatible blood group can have fatal results.
Also, knowing your blood type can help predict some conditions that may occur during pregnancy, such as Rh incompatibility between mom and baby. If the baby has the Rh-positive blood group and the mom has a negative one, it may cause medical complications.
How do you know your blood type?
The easiest way to find out what blood type you are is to check your birth certificate. But if you don’t have it for any reason, there are other options:
You can ask your doctor; they may have a record that includes your blood type.
When you donate, it goes through several tests, including blood type.
Ask about your blood type the next time you have blood drawn. The lab might have this information if you’ve had blood drawn in the past.
Purchase an at-home blood test. Although these tests might offer only partially accurate results, they could be the first approach to a better understanding.
At Signature Health Services, we encourage a better knowledge of every medical and health condition. We aim for our community to be aware of every aspect of health prevention. Our registered and skilled nurses and licensed therapists will always be happy to help you with any health concerns.
Call Signature 24/7 at 1 (800) 277-8291 for excellence in skilled and compassionate home health care.